Please, let Stop. Africa is not a landfill.

Escrito el 27 junio 2011 por Jesus Guerro en General

Mainly Africa and Far East countries are becoming a true global dumping ground for waste from exports mostly made suspicious of dubious legality in their countries of origin, in any case, industrialized nations whose focus is primarily on the continent Europe.
Countless tons of electronic equipment and appliances, that contain high toxic elements as batteries, oil and gas cooling, are being sold under the table, to companies in these destination countries to be scrapped and recover the metal, which is a cheaper operation than extracting the gas and oil previously to treat them separately, a mandatory procedure in Europe for all manufacturers and brands.
By law, since 2005, any device that has a battery or plug must be treated: removing hazardous materials (gas, oil, heavy metals …) before the reuse of industrial metals (iron, steel, copper …).
Recently the Spanish customs stopped a container of toxic waste in the way to developing countries, sadly, a dramatically growing practice, which has encouraged the openness of a massive fraud investigation against this type of irregular recycling.
Sources from the Spanish paper El País, confirm that a container was held three weeks ago, by means of an operation of the World Customs Organization, coordinated in 65 countries. Allen Bruford, project coordinator, said by telephone: «The trafficking of waste to developing countries is a global phenomenon and we believe that growing. The Netherlands and Belgium are the countries that detect this practice in a higher rate, not necessarily because its bigger activity but because they have specialized equipment.»
Often these shipments of scrap (computers or old refrigerators) are disguised as equipment for sale second hand. Here we have a difficult gap. It is admitted by authorities that it is not always clear line of separation between waste and used appliances. Making it difficult to track and arrest shipments.
What’s more exports nobody doubts it, because the accounts do not match.

According to the same sources, in 2009 702,000 tons of electronic and electrical products run in the Spanish market but only 124 987 were treated (17%). Obviously, not everything that is sold in a year must be recycled that year (the products last several years) but the difference between what is recycled and what is sold, gives an idea of ​​something happening.  
Managers of waste treatment plants regularly receive calls from companies in Morocco, China, India, Ghana, Gambia … to buy waste. Product manufacturers abroad recognize that there are brokers who are interested in buying waste insistently. This should not be alarming in itself as a practice except in cases where legal treatment of waste is not respected, which is here the problem.

This matter should be urgently incorporated into international trade law if we do not want to create some environmental problems in regions of such magnitude that it will be strongly difficult to regenerate.

As «A disgrace to Europe» is defined this problem from certain instances when referring the problem in the recycling of electronic products: Sentences like «One of the biggest embarrassments of Europe is to see how e-waste appears scrapped or abandoned in the most world’s poor. This creates problems of health and environment. »

 Everyone agrees that there is a long remarkable road for improvement in recycling but completing regulation and reinforcing resources on this matter are pending subjects for International Trade Institutions, EU and Goverment s of Nations. Please do not give up on it.


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