A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 February 7, 1991

“The International Trade in Wastes”

5th Edition, 1990. Publisher: Greenpeace
Available for $20 from Greenpeace Int’l Waste Trade Project
1436 U Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009.

Annual subscription to Greenpeace Waste Trade Update, $US 10 (address above).

“The rich get richer, and the poor get poisoned.” This a compelling, easy-to-read, inventory of the the world’s waste trade that will command your attention through all 400 pages. The information Greenpeace has so expertly presented is profoundly disturbing. One thing is certain: we need to do everything in our individual and collective power to effect a ban on the nefarious international trade in wastes. According to Greenpeace: “The most attractive targets for waste dumpers are the countries that are furthest removed from the economic benefits of industrialization...Waste trade deals have brought thousands of tons of toxics to places as diverse as Cato Ridge, South Africa; Koko, Nigeria; Beirut, Lebanon; and Gonaives, Haiti. For many of the world’s most economically and politically powerless, life has been irrevocably poisoned by the excesses of the industrialized world and the resulting global trade in toxic waste...Waste is moved primarily for economic reasons. For instance, export from Northern economic powers is often caused by cheaper labor, capital costs, liability, insurance costs etc. These lower costs are often indicative of much less stringent labor or environmental protection laws. In other words, wastes are often recycled in poorer countries because industry is allowed to be dirtier there. Thus dirty industries are allowed to exploit workers and the environment in exchange for badly needed foreign cash. Legislation that permits waste shipments designated for recycling or deemed ‘secondary raw materials,’ creates a huge loophole through which waste traders can ship a wide variety of dangerous substances misrepresented as ‘fertilizer, road oil, building materials’ etc. This presents a huge problem for enforcement and places the burden of proof of toxicity and precaution on the enforcing government...The transboundary movement of wastes for recycling can be used as an excuse by generators to absolve themselves of responsibility for the inevitable negative effects of the hazardous materials. When legally viewed as ‘secondary raw materials’ or ‘for recycling or recovery industries,’ toxic wastes are too often exempted (as in the U.N.’s Basel Convention) from the requirements for ensuring the availability of adequate technical capacity or suitability...Greenpeace and most of the less industrialized world have insisted on complete import and export bans as the only means to adequately remedy the problems associated with the international trade in hazardous wastes...In the biggest blow against waste trade yet, the European Community has agreed to prohibit the export of its wastes to 68 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. Now, about half the world’s countries official ban waste imports. It seems that every waste scheme that we hear about is eventually defeated. Waste traders are on the run...” [Note: even though countries have bans, proposals are still being made.]

The Lome Convention “In 1989, sixty-eight less industrialized countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, collectively known as the ACP countries, joined with officials from the European Economic Community (EEC) in prohibiting the international trade in wastes. The agreement known as the Lome Convention bans all radioactive and hazardous waste shipments from the EEC to the ACP countries. In addition, ACP countries agreed to not import any wastes from any other non-EEC country. The Lome agreement is the world’s most sweeping ban on the international waste trade. It is the first international agreement to prohibit radioactive waste trade. It is also the first commitment by the EEC to ban waste exports to any country...It will come into legal force on the first day of the second month after all EEC member countries and two-thirds of the ACP countries have ratified it.”

The United Nations Basel Convention: “...its primary aim [is] to legalize and facilitate the international trade in wastes...the Basel Convention has failed to incorporate [a total ban on exports of wastes from industrialized to less industrialized countries] because heavily industrialized countries want to maintain waste exports as a legitimate waste disposal option. The convention they envisioned would be a mere duplication of recently adopted laws and directives in the U.S. and the EEC that require waste exporters to notify the governments of any exporting and importing countries before any shipment takes place....Industrialized countries had the power to stop waste exports to the Third world; instead they opted to institutionalize them. Greenpeace has attended every treaty negotiation session since June 1988, as official ‘observers,’ and has witnessed the systematic stripping of environmental safeguards from the convention by industrialized countries...The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) urged negotiators to exclude radioactive wastes from the convention because, allegedly, they were covered by existing IAEA international control systems. However, Greenpeace discovered that --excluding fissile radioactive wastes --no such regulations exist...When the Convention was signed in Basel on March 22, 1989, it did not ban waste exports [except to Antarctica] from industrialized to less industrialized countries. Nor did the Convention include radioactive wastes. The convention further allowed a free trade in wastes between Contracting and Non-contracting Parties. By providing a legal framework within which to trade waste, the Convention legitimizes a practice that should be considered a criminal activity. The Basel Convention could set back global efforts to end the waste trade by a matter of years. The Basel Convention’s greatest danger is that it creates the illusion that the international waste trade is now under control...”

International Transport Federation (ITF): The ITF, at their August 1990 convention held in Florence, Italy, called on “developed nations and others involved in the dumping of toxic waste to cease their nefarious activities forthwith and to find alternative safe means of disposing of such wastes within three (count them) months, after which transport workers throughout the world should be mobilized to take action against any person or persons continuing to engage in the reckless dumping of toxic waste in any part of the world.”

World Bank: “World Bank President Barber Conable spoke about the international waste trade in a meeting with a group of Philippine businessmen on February 16, 1989...Conable pointed to neglect in the U.S. as the cause of a ‘multibillion dollar (pollution) problem for Washington’...The World Bank has a policy of not funding any project that involves the import of toxic wastes.”

(pages 281-285.) [*= Waste Not information]

State Indian Land Proposal Proposed by Status

AZ Navajo in Dilcon Toxic incinerator Pegler-Welch Engineering Rejected - 1989

AZ Navajo Reservation Toxic waste dump Pegler-Welch Engineering Rejected - 1989

CA Campo Band, MSW landfill Mid-American Waste Systems* Proposal

Alaska Chickaloon Village Haz. Waste incin. WASTE TECH Rejected - 1990

AZ-UT Paiute-Kaibab Haz. Waste incin. WASTE TECH Rejected - 1991*

NV Moapa land Haz. Waste incin. WASTE TECH Proposal, 1990

CA Jackson Rancheria Med. Waste incin. I.T. CORP. Rejected, 1990

CA* La Posta Haz. Waste incin. W.R. Grace Proposal

MS Choctaw land Haz. Waste incin. WASTE TECH Proposal, 1990

UT Goshute Reservation Incinerator Golden Eagle Recycling Proposal, 1990

FL Seminole Haz. Waste incin. not known Proposal, 1990

NC Cherokee Haz. Waste incin. not known Proposal, 1990

NC Ouray Territory Haz. Waste incin. Global Telesis Proposal, 1990

OK* Caw Tribe Haz. Waste incin. WASTE TECH Rejected, 1991

*UPDATE on the Campo Band of Mission Indians Landfill Project in CA: Ogden Martin was identified in The International Trade in Wastes as the company involved. According to the tribe’s P.R. spokesman, Mike Sund, Ogden is no longer involved with this project. There are 250 residents on the 15,480-acre reservation. The Campo Band has signed a contract with Mid-American Waste Systems Inc. of Canal Winchester, Ohio to lease and operate the landfill proposed to accept up to 3,000 tpd of San Diego county municipal solid waste.. The tribe will receive a percentage of the tip fees, estimated at $l.5 million per year. The railroad line that services the area is The San Diego & Imperial Valley. The Bureau of Indian Affairs has retained Science Application Inc. as a consultant for the environmental impact statement.

WASTE NOT # 137 A publication of Work on Waste USA, published 48 times a year. Annual rates are: Groups & Non-Profits $50; Students & Seniors $35; Individual $40; Consultants & For-Profits $125; Canadian Subscription $US45. Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street., Canton NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.