Greenpeace calls on govt to explain toxic waste exports

Press release - August 4, 2011
Greenpeace is calling on the government to come clean about exports of toxic waste from New Zealand to the Phillipines and South Korea.

OIA Documents passed to Greenpeace reveal that New Zealand has exported at least 50,000 tonnes of toxic battery waste to the Phillipines and South Korea since the end of 2008.

Greenpeace believes that serious question marks exist about whether these exports are legal under both the international Basel Treaty and Waigani Treaty, which make developed countries responsible for dealing with their own toxic waste rather than exporting it to countries where environmental and safety standards are lower

Greenpeace Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid said, “These revelations could threaten New Zealand’s image both as a clean green country and a responsible member of the international community”.

“If these deals are above board then why is the government withholding details of where in the Phillipines and South Korea our toxic waste is being processed?” Greenpeace is calling on the government to:

  • Release the names of the waste facilities in both the Philippines and South Korea where New Zealand’s toxic waste is being processed and prove that their safety and environmental records were properly assessed before exports were approved.
  • Put on hold any more exports of toxic waste until a full review of New Zealand’s toxic waste management policy has been completed.
  • Encourage development of a new state of the art recycling facility for New Zealand

Ms McDiarmid continued, “New Zealand has the moral responsibility to deal with its own toxic waste, not dump it on developing countries”.

“The reality is we have the skills and technology to do this work cleanly and responsibly at home. The government should see this as an opportunity – to create new green jobs and investment.”

“What New Zealand needs is a new state of the art recycling facility and one that isn't right smack bang next to people’s homes and schools.”