Added: 24.02.2011 10:50
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Transboundary waste disposal

Recycling and treatment of hazardous waste are often very expensive in western countries. That encourages companies to export their waste to low income countries where strict laws or regulations for pollution do not exist.

Many companies in developed and industrialized nations transport illegally their waste to poorer countries in order to reduce the costs of waste disposal. If all the environmental laws and regulations are followed, waste treatment is four times cheaper in China than in Europe, according to the publication available at Other places where waste is smuggled to are India, Africa and Indonesia. Smuggling the waste from Europe to developing countries has become a significant and increasing dirty business.

Additionally, in developing countries the cost of disposal of large quantities of waste is often beyond their financial capacity. That is why waste is often treated in inadequate and risky conditions, sometimes even by child labour. If waste is improperly managed it can cause major health hazards. When proper laws of waste treatment do not exist, waste can be sometimes simply burned or left to nature to rot away and pollute air and water resources as well as release greenhouse gases.

Producing hazardous waste is often inevitable. Waste is produced during many manufacturing processes in industry. However, transboundary disposal of hazardous waste has to be stopped! Waste management in developing countries should be improved instead. And finally, western countries should support poorer countries to develop their environmental and waste treatment policy and regulations.

Research question: What would be the best solutions for preventing waste disposal to developing countries?

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It seems to be a win win situation at first glance. One country wants to get rid of waste and the other wants to get some financial injection. However, lack of education and knowledge on hazardous waste and proper disposal puts people, animals and ecosystems overall at risk.