Greenpeace inflatables from MV GREENPEACE intercepting the Russian container ship GAMZAT TSADASA carrying Australian hazardous computer waste, Manila, Philippines. Following this action, Filipino customs officials agreed to impound the two containers.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) estimates that 90 per cent of the world's hazardous waste is generated by the rich economies of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). As a way of avoiding stringent and expensive environmental and safety regulations at home, most OECD countries have exported their waste problems to poorer, developing countries where regulations are lax or non-existent and workers are exploited. In 1992, the UK exported more than 80,000 tonnes of toxic waste to developing nations and Eastern Europe. In the early 1990's, the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, and Japan have sent shipments of hazardous wastes to Asian countries mostly in the guise of recyclable materials. In 1996, Australia exported more than 8500 tonnes of toxic waste, including old car batteries, zinc and copper ashes to the Philippines and India.

The Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, was designed to stop wealthy countries of the OECD from exporting and directly dumping their toxic waste to poorer developing countries. In 1995, Parties to the Basel Convention amended the treaty to put a stop to the practice of trading in hazardous wastes from OECD to non-OECD countries for the purpose of recycling. Throughout the negotiations, Greenpeace exposed various waste trade schemes, documented illegal traffic and monitored the shift in patterns of waste trading from direct dumping to sham recycling.

Despite this victory, the trade in toxic wastes continues. Ratification of the Basel Ban amendment and its expression into national laws have been identified as interventions of utmost priority to stop the effluent of the affluent from being dumped on poorer countries.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia is actively involved in the campaign to protect the region from being made dumping ground of toxic and hazardous scrap materials, and other dirty technologies that have been rejected elsewhere due to their adverse impacts on the environment.

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The latest updates


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