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    Review of 'Ticking Time Bomb: Implications of the Covid-19 Lockdown on E-Waste Management in Developing Countries'

    Ticking Time Bomb: Implications of the Covid-19 Lockdown on E-Waste Management in Developing CountriesCrossref
    The article considers a significant environmental challenge (ewaste management) linked to COVID-19.
    Average rating:
        Rated 4 of 5.
    Level of importance:
        Rated 3 of 5.
    Level of validity:
        Rated 3 of 5.
    Level of completeness:
        Rated 4 of 5.
    Level of comprehensibility:
        Rated 5 of 5.
    Competing interests:

    Reviewed article

    • Record: found
    • Abstract: found
    • Article: found
    Is Open Access

    Ticking Time Bomb: Implications of the Covid-19 Lockdown on E-Waste Management in Developing Countries

    The coronavirus pandemic has altered the course of events globally since the outbreak of the corona virus disease (COVID-19) late 2019 further giving credence to the long standing beliefthat the world is indeed a global village. There have been different responses by countries to the raging pandemic including imposition of lockdowns, quarantine and isolation. The imposition of the lockdown whether full or partial, has not been without major consequences leading to resort to information, communication and technological (ICT) based measures to minimize the effect of the lockdown and as an alternative to physical interactions. The use of ICT devices to bridge the gaps created by the lockdown on schools, business offices and other sectors, has led to increased use of electronic devices. The challenge of electronic waste (e-waste) management in developing countries has been on for a while and the increased use of electronic devices is likely to compound the challenge during, and post COVID-19. Whilst the development of ICT based options as viable alternative to face-to-face interactions may not be a negative development, the paper argues that the existing frameworks are inadequate to manage the resultant increase in e-waste in most developing countries and that there is need more than ever before for developing countries to exercise caution in embracing these ICT based options without putting in place measures to ensure that there is increased capacity to manage and dispose the e-waste created thereby.

      Review information

      This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com.

      Pollution and health,waste management,developing countries,e-waste,coronavirus,Environmental policy and practice,pollution,COVID-19 lockdown,Environmental protection

      Review text

      This is an interesting article which raises important points about the environmental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. I enjoyed reading it, and would like to encourage the authors to consider the comments below.

      I have four key comments.

      1. The title and introductory framing of the article do not seem to really match what the article offers. The article appears to focus mainly on e-waste management in Nigeria. There is no case made in the article for generalizing the findings from Nigeria to other ‘developing countries’. Perhaps the authors could consider the simple solution of revising the title of the article, the introduction, and the section on legal and institutional framework for addressing the ewaste challenge.
      2. The description of the COVID-19 pandemic in Section 1 seems very general. It could either be cut if the authors are so inclined or the analysis could be strenghtened in line with the theme of the paper.   
      3. The article seems based on the assumption of increased reliance on ICT and in relation to this, the greater risk of an e-waste mamagement problem. Is there any evidence of increased importation and/or use of ICT and generation of more electronic waste during the pandemic, particularly in developing countries? It is important to consider the available evidence (for instance, any reports on the significant widening of the digital divide between and within developing and deloped countries during the COVID-19 pandemic AND loss of livelihoods, etc) and nuance the arguments made in the article accordingly.  
      4. The authors could consider addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the regulation of e-waste and the enforcement of relevant laws. This could complement the current Section V.  

      More specific comments:


      Please explain the meaning of “HCW” where it is used for the first time, and clarify the use of “region”.



      “Nigeria’s fast-growing second (hand?) computer”

      “Also, burning of waste which has a well-documented association with the incidence of respiratory health symptoms among adults and children alike.” Comment: Incomplete sentence?

      “Landfills are a standard method for disposing of wastes in the developed and developing worlds, however, improperly built landfills can cause environmental and human health problems.” Comment: Please check punctuation.



      Please explain the meaning of “LDCs” where it is used for the first time.



      “The desire for technological advancement and alternative ICT based options as a viable The desire for technological advancement and alternative options created to address the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown is changing settings in the developing world.”


      Please check the structure of the sentence(s).



      “Stronger commitment should be made toward enforcement of existing laws and national regulations… Stricter measures at regulating the movement of e-waste substances from the UK, the USA and the EU member states should be put in place with developing states being able to prohibit or object to shipments of waste in order to implement the principles of proximity and self-sufficiency.”


      Who should be responsible for establishing the stronger commitment and putting in place the stricter regulations? Also, could the Conclusion of the paper does not seem to directly address some of the challenges identified in Section V, especially the socio-legal dimensions of (poor) e-waste management that were identified by the authors in Section V?


      Thank you for the very detailed review.

      The comments are very well received. 

      We will commence work on the suggestions and will upload a revised version soon.

      2021-04-16 16:00 UTC

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