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Information and communication technology (ICT) are modern tools and equipments that are used for the processing, storing, disseminating and utilization of information. Information and communication technology include computers, monitors, modern, keyboard, mice, scanner and printers etc. According to Aina (2004), information and communication technology is concerned with the technology used in handling, acquiring, processing, storing and disseminating information.
Information and communication technology has benefited educational institutions in several ways. Haag, Cummings and Dawkins, (2000) summarize the benefit in the following three (3) areas; the area of information processing task (such as online registration of courses, payment of school fees and checking of results), as an enabler of innovation and it has collapsed the wasting of time and space in academic programmes. Besides, other organizations like banks, hotels, phone companies, fuel stations etc. has also benefited from ICTs. Information and communication technology has made the information processing task in educational institutions particularly Delta State University, Abraka very easy, for example the task of computing and printing payroll checks during payment of staff salaries. It has also facilitated online course registration, payment of school fees etc. through the University portal accessible to students 24/7.
Educational institutions and other organizations acquire different categories of ICTs like computers, radios, televisions sets CD-ROM, computer terminals, telephone lines and modem, cellular phones and fax machines. Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) is rated as having the best ICT system in the Nigeria with its own VSAT access to the Internet and campus-wide intranet. With over 1000 computers distributed in 15 computer laboratories across the campus, the university has embarked on the progressive application of ICT to all its functions and services such as academic, research and administrative (Agyeman 2007). The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), established in 2002, has created across the country several study centres in the form of computer laboratories or cybercafés equipped with computers in a Local Area Network (LAN) connected through a Wide Area Network (WAN) to deliver distance learning courses to all study centres (Agyeman 2007). NOUN ICT applications presently cover: management of student records, learner management system, communication and delivery of the human resource and finance courses (Agyeman 2007).
As ICTs goes faulty and or obsolete they constitute waste. Thus, the ever growing dependence on electronic products has paved the way for an emerging environmental concern called "Electronic Waste". The problem of electronic waste seems to have emerged only recently, it has been building up since the first computer or electronic product was manufactured. According to PPCC (2006), "Electronic waste is an unwanted electronic or electrical appliance that have been discarded by their original users such as old and outdated computers, laptops, televisions, cellular phones, Mp3 players, telecommunications equipments, keyboards, mouse, photocopiers, typewriters etc". Majority of the electronic waste contain materials that could be recovered and reused for new product development. Electronic equipment contains hazardous materials, which can affect human health and environment if not properly managed (PPCC, 2006).
Since the establishment of the Delta State University in 1992, there have been series of electronic waste generated within and around the school premises that has directly and indirectly caused damages to the environment and human health. For example, a lot of abandoned computers can be found in the school cyber café and offices. In addition, abandoned megaphones, photocopiers, manual typewriters, keyboards, mice, telephones etc are found in lecture rooms, the university library, and university hostels causing negative health and environmental consequences. Viewed against this background, this study becomes necessary as it would focus on the way forward for the university in the management of information and communication technology waste. The following research questions were put forward to guide the study:
i. What are the types of ICT waste generated in Delta State University, Abraka?
ii. What is the level of ICT waste generated in Delta State University, Abraka?
iii. What are the measures put in place for ICT waste disposal in Delta State University, Abraka?
iv. What are the environmental consequences of ICT waste in Delta State University, Abraka?
v. What are the problems militating against proper disposal of ICT waste in Delta State University, Abraka?