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Vital Waste GraphicsVital Waste Graphics
The publication “Vital Waste Graphics” was initiated by the Basel Convention Secretariat and produced in partnership with the Division of Environmental Conventions (DEC) of UNEP, Grid-Arendal and the Division of Early Warning Assessment-Europe of UNEP. It is being published for the seventh meeting of the Conference to the Parties of the Basel Convention (COP7).
Available online at: http://www.grida.no/publications/vg/waste
Hazardous waste in Georgia Hazardous waste in Georgia
Economic conditions have led to the almost complete closure of old Soviet era industrial complexes. Neither the Rustavi and Zestafoni chemical and metallurgy plants or the Chiatura and Tkibuli mines still function. However, the piles of unused chemicals and heavy metal stocks that still litter these sites pose a very real threat to the local people and environment. In addition, about 300 military sites fulfi lling various purposes – including ro...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Import of waste as reported by Australia, in tonnes, 2001 Import of waste as reported by Australia, in tonnes, 2001
In 2000 Australia imported 1600 tonnes of waste from New Zealand, Norway, French Antarctic and South Africa. This included mostly copper and lead compounds from New Zealand, selenium from Norway and household waste from the French Antarctic base.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Radioactive, chemical and biological hazards in Central Asia Radioactive, chemical and biological hazards in Central Asia
The Soviet development model for Central Asia was based on building large-scale irrigation schemes enabling the region to become a major cotton producer and expanding the mining and processing industry. Industrial operations in the region paid little attention to the environment and public health, resulting in the accumulation of pollutants in the local environment. Today, not only active industrial facilities constitute a threat to environment, ...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Hong Kong municipal waste composition Hong Kong municipal waste composition
As 1.3 billion Chinese thunder into the great pleasures of consumption, municipal waste is certainly a major environmental concern. This graph shows the amount of waste from 1991 to 2003 in Hong Kong.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Waste generation from manufacturing industry (by sectors) Waste generation from manufacturing industry (by sectors)
Turning raw materials into consumer products generates waste - depending on the technology used, the nature of the raw material processed and how much of it is discarded at the end of the chain. Very often manufacturing wastes end up in the hazardous category. (please note that the Italy figure is not consistent with the source reference, and is erroneous)
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Transboundary movements of waste in 2000 Transboundary movements of waste in 2000
Waste, including extremely hazardous waste like radioactive material, toxic heavy metals and poisonous PCBs are routinely being loaded into trucks, and transported across continents. Some is loaded onto ships and exported to other countries. Often the waste is being sent for recycling but some is just dumped. Between 1993 and 1999 122 countries reported nearly 30 000 waste exports. During this period Germany was the top exporter (nearly 7 millio...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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How long does it take for some commonly used products to biodegrade? How long does it take for some commonly used products to biodegrade?
Pollution emitted in industrial areas represents a threat to human health and the surrounding natural resources. We have a tendency to believe that the production processes are the only source of environmental damage, and often forget about the possible long-term effects of harmful production practices. When deposited, there is quite some difference in the amount of time needed for degradation of common products and packaging, and the environmen...
17 May 2005 - by UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Global hazardous waste generation by type as reported by the parties to the Basel Convention for the years 1993-2000 Global hazardous waste generation by type as reported by the parties to the Basel Convention for the years 1993-2000
Hazardous wastes can often be recycled in an environmentally sound manner. Wastes that cannot be recycled must be treated to reduce the toxicity and the ability of the constituents to move throughout the environment. Treatment residues must be safely stored to avoid spills and leaks. (US Environmental Protection Agency).
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Recycling rates for selected OECD countries Recycling rates for selected OECD countries
The priority now is to decrease the amount of waste we generate. That means changing our consumption patterns, for example by choosing products that use recyclable material, market fresh produce instead of canned food, less packaging and easily recyclable containers (for example glass instead of plastic). It also means recycling – sorting, collecting, processing and reusing materials that would otherwise be handled as wastes. This graphic present...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Contribution of various waste management systems to greenhouse gas emissions, 2002 Contribution of various waste management systems to greenhouse gas emissions, 2002
The disposal and treatment of waste can produce emissions of several greenhouse gases (GHGs), which contribute to global climate change. The most significant GHG gas produced from waste is methane. It is released during the breakdown of organic matter in landfills. Other forms of waste disposal also produce GHGs but these are mainly in the form of carbon dioxide (a less powerful GHG). Even the recycling of waste produces some emissions (although ...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Contribution from waste to climate change Contribution from waste to climate change
The disposal and treatment of waste can produce emissions of several greenhouse gases (GHGs), which contribute to global climate change. The most significant GHG gas produced from waste is methane. It is released during the breakdown of organic matter in landfills. Other forms of waste disposal also produce GHGs but these are mainly in the form of carbon dioxide (a less powerful GHG). Even the recycling of waste produces some emissions (although ...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Import waste as reported by Germany, in tonnes, 2001 Import waste as reported by Germany, in tonnes, 2001
In 2000 Germany reported sending 317 528 tonnes of waste to 14 countries. All countries appeared to receive a broad combination of hazardous waste apart from China, which received nearly 50 tonnes of household waste. During 2000 Germany was amongst the top importers, bringing in over 1 million tonnes of waste from 38 countries. Major flows were from the Netherlands, Italy, Luxemburg and Belgium.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Mercury pollution - transport and cycle Mercury pollution - transport and cycle
Mines use toxic chemicals including cyanide, mercury, and sulphuric acid, to separate metal from ore. The chemicals used in the processing are generally recycled, however residues may remain in the tailings, which in developing countries are often dumped directly into lakes or rivers with devastating consequences. The accidental spillage of processing chemicals can also have a serious impact on the environment. For example, at the Baia Mare mine ...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Different sources of danger and their impacts to the environment Different sources of danger and their impacts to the environment
Contaminated groundwater can adversely affect animals, plants and humans if it is removed from the ground by manmade or natural processes. Depending on the geology of the area, groundwater may rise to the surface through springs or seeps, fl ow laterally into nearby rivers, streams, or ponds, or sink deeper into the earth. In many parts of the world, groundwater is pumped out of the ground to be used for drinking, bathing, other household uses, a...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Composition of transboundary waste Composition of transboundary waste
According to the Basel Convention reports, of more than 300 million tonnes of waste (including hazardous and other waste) generated worldwide in 2000, a little less that 2% was exported. However 90% of the exported waste was classifi ed as hazardous. The principal waste export by volume was lead and lead compounds bound for recycling.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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The richer we get, the more we discard - human consumption, waste and living standards The richer we get, the more we discard - human consumption, waste and living standards
According to various scenarios, the economic development (presented in this graphic as Gross Domestic Product, GDP) will most likely continue for the next decades – but at a slower pace for those countries that can afford advanced waste management strategies. As 1.3 billion Chinese thunder into the great pleasures of consumption, municipal waste is certainly a major environmental concern.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Total waste generation in selected OECD countries in mid-1990s Total waste generation in selected OECD countries in mid-1990s
The Basel Convention has estimated the amount of hazardous and other waste generated for 2000 and 2001 at 318 and 338 millions tonnes respectively. However these figures are based on reports from only a third of the countries that are currently members of the Convention (approximately 45 out of 162). Compare this with the almost 4 billion tonnes estimated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development as generated by their 25 membe...
17 May 2005 - by UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Soil polluting activities from selected sources Soil polluting activities from selected sources
Contaminants in the soil can harm plants when they take up the contamination through their roots. Ingesting, inhaling, or touching contaminated soil, as well as eating plants or animals that have accumulated soil contaminants can adversely impact the health of humans and animals.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Who gets the trash? Who gets the trash?
As we continually update and invent new products the life of the old ones is getting shorter and shorter. Like shipbreaking, e-waste recycling involves the major producers and users, shipping the obsolete products to Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa. But instead of being “green” we are exporting a sack full of problems to people who have to choose between poverty or poison. This graphic illustrates major receivers of e-waste in Asia.
07 Nov 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Emissions of organic water pollutants Emissions of organic water pollutants
Pollution emitted in industrial areas represents a threat to human health and the surrounding natural resources. We have a tendency to believe that the production processes are the only source of environmental damage, and often forget about the possible long-term effects of harmful production practices.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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