Regulation of the trade in hazardous wastes
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AbstractThe problem of hazardous wastes is far greater than can be addressed by a bilateral Agreement. Poor countries may become dumping grounds for the rich, industrialized countries. In answer to short term desire for hard currency and job creation, developing countries might be most vulnerable to environmental and public health concerns. The dangers inherent in exporting hazardous wastes to developing countries became the focus of international interest even though such exports amounted to only a small percentage of total wastes and exports. The incentive to export hazardous waste to developing countries expands as prices rise and space dwindles for disposal of hazardous wastes in the developed world. The attraction of disposing of hazardous waste in developing countries has been that it could be done at a fraction of the price of disposal in developed countries. In addition to regulating transboundary movements and disposal of hazardous wastes, the Basel Convention was drafted to persuade signatory states to reduce the volume of their exports of hazardous wastes. To that end, states are encouraged to dispose of their own hazardous wastes and to develop means of minimizing or obviating the need to generate hazardous wastes. Technological advancement is key to reducing hazardous waste; therefore, international co-operation to develop and share reduction technologies, particularly with developing countries, is mandated by the Basel Convention. Despite the dangers posed by dumping hazardous wastes in developing countries, a total ban on the transboundary movement of hazardous waste was passed over in favour of mere regulation. The fact that the Basel Convention does not prohibit transboundary movement of hazardous wastes entirely creates some incentive for other countries which wish to continue to export hazardous wastes.
Article deposited after permission was granted by the editor of LawNow magazine, 06/28/2010.