Illegal exports of electrical and electronic waste to the Third World

The major economies of the developed world have not yet demonstrated their ability to effectively manage and control procedures of disposal of electrical and electronic waste properly. Rather than address the problem accurately, these rich economies that use most electronic products and they produce the largest volume of electronic waste; they exploit an easy - and until recently, hidden escape valve - exporting the waste crisis to the developing countries of Asia and Africa.

For example, exports of electronic waste to Asia are motivated by purely economic reasons.Market forces, if left unregulated, dictate that toxic wastes will "slip" in the economic path with less resistance. If the market is left unregulated the toxic waste from wealthy economies will flood the world's poorest countries where labour costs are cheap, and labour standards and environmental conditions are inadequate.

The free trade movement leaves the poorer peoples of the earth with an untenable choice between poverty and poison - a choice that nobody should have to make. For this reason the Basel Convention came into force in 1989. For the same reason, also in Basel in 1994, it was agreed to adopt a comprehensive ban on all exports of hazardous waste from rich to poor countries for any reason, including recycling.

Despite existing regulations, such as the Basel Convention, the transfer of waste to countries without basic infrastructure for processing and recycling is a growing global problem.

In this section we present data on the illegal movement of electrical and electronic waste in Third World countries, and the legal barriers which attempt to prevent such activity.

The Basel Convention

European Commission WEEE Regulation

WEEE Regulations and illegal exports

Illegal export of WEEE and child labour

WEEE illegal export destinations

Where does the illegal WEEE come from?

Legal enforcement of international conventions and laws

Illegal Exporting of USA old lead batteries to Mexico