Ban on export of hazardous toxic waste and electronic waste fails

Some rich industrialized countries, such as the USA and Japan, want to continue exporting their toxic waste to developing countries

Every year, 20 to 50 million tons of electronic waste are generated worldwide. In China alone, 20 million cell phones are thrown away every year, and there are already two billion cell phone owners. In addition, there are one billion PCs in the world, and that number is expected to reach two billion by 2015. With the proliferation of electronic devices, which will continue, the associated mulling problem will also increase. The biggest growth in the next few years will be in the emerging countries, which have not solved the problem of electronic waste, unlike the European Union, for example, where there is now an obligation to take back electronic waste.

Achim Steiner, the director of the UN Environment Program, offered some of these figures in a speech he gave at the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (COP9) in Bali. The agreement should ensure the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal. In fact, Steiner said, based on a report, the proper use of information and communication technologies could save 15 percent of CO2 emissions. The rapid growth and overfulfillment of devices, Steiner says, poses "The international community sees this as a major health and environmental problem". The bulk of the mull normally ends up in African or Asian countries, where the dangerous chemicals and heavy metals are released into the environment.

Some countries, such as the U.S., have not ratified the Basel Convention, again the U.S., but also Japan, Canada and India have now prevented the export of dangerous substances from being banned. Thus, people in poor countries continue to be exposed to dangerous toxins, heavy metals or PCBs generated by electronic waste. The problem became clear in 2006 when hundreds of tons of toxic waste from Europe ended up in landfills in the Ivory Coast. The subject will be discussed once again. Nor has it been possible to agree on global standards for the scrapping of ships. This usually also happens in developing and newly industrialized countries such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan or China. Whereby many toxic components end up in the environment.

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