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A 2018 United Nations-backed analysis of 60,000 metric tons of used electrical equipment imported into Nigeria, most of it from Europe, found that at least a quarter of it was not functioning, much of it refrigerators and air conditioners.
“They come in branded as new, but when they’re off-loaded it’s mostly near-end-of-life e-waste,” said Leslie Adogame, executive director of SRADev, a Nigerian nonprofit environmental health research group.
Because many of the used cooling devices use two to three times more electricity than new models, they stress already overburdened electricity grids, government officials said.
Many of them also use outdated chemical refrigerants that are potent contributors to climate change. And because many don’t work for long, they add to the already prodigious electronic waste dumps across Africa.