The Associated Press reports, “More than 170 countries have agreed to accelerate adoption of a global ban on the export of hazardous wastes, including old electronics, to developing countries. …The deal seeks to ensure that developing countries no longer become dumping groups for toxic waste including industrial chemicals, discarded computers and mobile phones and obsolete ships laden with asbestos, he said. Delegates at the UN environmental conference in Cartagena agreed the ban should take effect as soon as 17 more countries ratify an amendment to the so-called 1989 Basel Convention (a treaty aimed at making nations manage their waste at home rather than send it overseas).”
“Opponents have been led by Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan… The United States, the world’s top exporter of electronic waste, is among nations that have not even ratified the original convention. …The global ban has been strongly backed by African countries, China and the European Union, which already prohibits toxic exports…and Colombia…”
“The issue took center stage in 2006 when hundreds of tons of waste were dumped around the Ivory Coast’s main city of Abidjan, killing at least 10 people and sickening tens of thousands. The waste came from a tanker chartered by the Dutch commodities trading company Trafigura Beheer BV, which had contracted with a local company to dispose of the waste. …Critics say insufficient funds, widespread corruption and the absence of the United States as a participant have undermined the convention, leaving millions of poor people exposed to heavy metals, PCBs and other toxins. They have long argued that an outright ban of exporting toxic waste is the only solution.”
The article can be read at http://www.skynews.com.au/eco/article.aspx?id=676477&vId=.