DownloaD Graphic 2
More than 300 million tonnes of waste, includ- dress them. Examples of such new issues include
ing hazardous and other wastes, were generated electronic waste (e-waste), with a high content of
worldwide in 2000, of which less than 2 per cent hazardous materials, such as heavy metals, which
was exported. However about 90 per cent of are fuelled by a rapid increase in the consump-
that exported waste was classified as hazardous, tion of personal electronic devices such as mobile
with about 30 per cent believed to be persistent phones.
organic pollutants (POPs). The principal waste
export by volume was lead and its compounds,
A great volume of e-waste is exported to develop-
bound for recycling.
ing countries. More than 90 per cent of the 20-
50 million tonnes of the e-waste generated every
Responses to the problem include, among others,
year in the world ends up in Bangladesh, China,
the Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-
India, Myanmar and Pakistan. Seventy per cent of
boundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and
e-waste collected at recycling units in New Delhi
their Disposal. However, lack of human resources,
was exported from or dumped by other countries.
training and equipment are some of the barriers,
which have prevented effective implementation of
Recycling electronic goods involves exposure to
heavy metals, such as lead, mercury and cadmi-
um which can be toxic to humans and ecosystems
There has also been an inadequate industry
if they are improperly handled or disposed of.
response to treat, recycle, re-use and dispose of
wastes at source and an inadequate information
network and alert systems to assist with the detec-
tion of illegal traffic in hazardous wastes.
New issues arise quickly, and can have important
human health impacts before existing policies
can be used, or new policies put in place to ad-
HARMFUL SUBSTANCES AND HAZARDOUS WASTE 51