From: Reuters
Published February 6, 2008 02:16 PM

Nigeria to curb imports of "toxic" old computers

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria plans to slap duties on old computers imported for spare parts because much of the excess material is later dumped and causes toxic waste, Information Minister John Odey said on Wednesday.

Nigeria has a growing market for computers, especially affordable ones, and there is a strong local culture of patching things up to keep them working for many years.

Currently, importers can ship in old computers duty free. They are then gutted for spare parts and the unwanted bits are thrown away.

"(Old computers) will be banned completely later, but it has to be a gradual process to avoid our country turning into a dumping ground for scrap," Odey told reporters after a cabinet meeting that approved the idea of tariffs.

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"This action became necessary because they are found to have toxic waste that causes cancer and other hazards to health," he said.

The disposal of unwanted electronic appliances has become increasingly regulated in developed countries but in Nigeria and other poor countries waste management is haphazard.

Burning piles of refuse are a common sight by the side of the road in Nigerian cities while huge dumps proliferate in densely populated areas.

(Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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