He's not reaping the benefits of "Free Trade." He's being poisoned by what we throw away.
Hong Kong is not just the place where trade ministers
attendreceptions. Hong Kong is also a 'freeport' for the world's
electronicwaste. China is quickly becoming the world's trash bin.
As much as4,000 tonnes of toxic e-waste is discarded every
Manyelectronic products are routinely, and often illegally,
shipped fromEurope, Japan and the US to China. Dumping them there
is cheaper thantaking proper care of them at home.
Because our mobile phones,computers and other electronic
products are made using toxicingredients, workers at yards such as
in Guiyu, China, risk exposurewhen they break the products apart by
hand, under appalling conditions.Guiyu is where this boy is
sitting. This is what "free trade" lookslike.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle vs More, Faster, Cheaper
Governmentsat the WTO meeting aim to eliminate tariffs on
electronic goods as partof the funnily named NAMA negotiations.
NAMA stands for NonAgricultural Market Access. Most products you
see in the shops arecovered by these negotiations. Free trade in
electronic goods willresult in more electronic goods being traded.
Sadly, as long aseffective social and environmental regulations are
missing, this willlead to even more electronic waste being dumped
in scrap-yards such asGuiyu.
According to its preamble, the WTO exists "to protectand
preserve the environment" and to achieve "the optimal use of
Big words. But in reality, the WTO forcescountries to compete to
trade more. As a result, the use of naturalresources is spiralling
upwards. One fifth of global oil consumption isused just to move
goods around the world. And trade negotiatorscontinue to ignore the
environment. This is true for electronic goodsand the waste they
will inevitably become.
Can't see the forest?
It is most shameful in the case of forests - another "product"
covered by the NAMA negotiations.
TheEuropean Union asked a respected university to conduct
a"sustainability impact assessment" of trade liberalization on
forests.As we long suspected, the study shows, that trade
liberalization fuelsthe destruction of the world's last remaining
ancient forests. Sadly,the researchers appear to have wasted their
time. Governments,unwilling to admit unpalatable truths, still aim
to move forward withthe NAMA negotiations in Hong Kong.
To this, Greenpeace says:STOP. Governments must halt the NAMA
negotiations. Plans forliberalization of vital environmental
assets, such as forests, must beabandoned. We must force
governments to admit the real face of freetrade and stop our waste
being dumped on children in Guiyu.
Want to learn more?
Read the weblog of
the Greenpeace team in Hong Kong
Greenpeace's position on the Meeting
Read Greenpeace's report "
Trading away the last ancient forests"
Help us promote sustainable trade and oppose the WTO by becoming a donor.