THE NIGERIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Volume 10, No. 1, (2012)
Global E-Waste Management and Second-Hand Consumption in the Third World: Substandard Context and Tokunbo Phenomenon in Nigeria
Ayokunle Olumuyiwa Omobowale
Department of Sociology Faculty of the Social Sciences University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
The world is technologically advancing, but the management of resultant waste, commonly known as e-waste, is also becoming very challenging. Of major concern is the incessant flow of this waste into the developing world where they assume secondhand value in spite of the associated environmental threats. This study adopts the qualitative approach to examine this phenomenon in Nigeria. The study reveals that aside from being cheaper than the new products, second-hand goods are usually preferred to the new products due to the substandard nature of most new electronics largely imported from Asia (especially China). The tag of Tokunbo or ‘imported from the West’ associated with second-hand goods imported from developed countries makes them more preferable to the public relative to new electronics imported from China, disparagingly termed Chinco. Yet both the second-hand electronics that are socially appreciated as Tokunbo and the substandard new electronics imported into Nigeria together render the country a huge recipient of goods that soon collapse and swell the e-waste heap in the country. This situation may be mitigated through strengthening the Standards Organisation of Nigeria and the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, and also by sensitizing Nigerians on the dangers inherent in e-wastes.
Keywords: e-waste, tokunbo, chinco, second-hand electronics, Nigeria