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Total hazardous and other waste generation as reported by the Parties to the Basel Convention in 2001 (bar chart) Total hazardous and other waste generation as reported by the Parties to the Basel Convention in 2001 (bar chart)
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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Ship owners and builders Ship owners and builders
When ships like oil tankers and cargo vessels pass their use by date they are broken up for scrap. Large ships are generally built by companies in countries like Japan, South Korea and Germany, but when it comes time for recycling and disposal they are sent to Pakistan, Bangladesh, India... Here thousands of low paid workers use basic tools to strip and break up the pollution-saturated hulls. The activities can take place on beaches – at high tid...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Emissions due to solid waste disposal on land Emissions due to solid waste disposal on land
Landfi ling is the most common waste management practice, and results in the release of methane from the anaerobic decomposition of organic materials. Methane is around 20 times more potent as a GHG than carbon dioxide. If the disposal of organic matter were to be decreased (for example by composting or incineration) it would be possible to reduce the amount of methane emissions. However, landfill methane is also a source of energy, and some lan...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Existing radioactive waste disposal and proposal alternatives for storage Existing radioactive waste disposal and proposal alternatives for storage
Radioactive waste presents a unique problem, where it has to be handled with care to prevent radiation exposure for people, wildlife and contamination. Products from nuclear activities can be reprocessed to a certain degree, but a fair bit of the waste needs to be stored or disposed of in a safe manner. Options include storing in deep mountain chambers/caverns, under the sea floor or even sending it out into space.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Solid waste management cost for selected cities Solid waste management cost for selected cities
Sound waste management requires a high level of technology and a signif cant budget. What Japan and Germany can afford today, most countries will have to wait a long time for. Developed countries have a lot to learn from the recycling and reuse levels in developing countries.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Hazardous waste generation in 2001 as reported by the Parties to the Basel Convention Hazardous waste generation in 2001 as reported by the Parties to the Basel Convention
Hazardous waste needs to be monitored and controlled from the moment the waste is generated until its ultimate disposal. Proper hazardous waste control requires a plan to reduce the amount of waste generated or the toxicity of the waste produced. The most environmentally sound and economically efficient way of managing any waste is not to generate it in the first place (source reduction).
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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What is in a computer What is in a computer
On average a computer is 23% plastic, 32% ferrous metals, 18% non-ferrous metals (lead, cadmium, antimony, beryllium, chromium and mercury), 12% electronic boards (gold, palladium, silver and platinum) and 15% glass. Only about 50% of the computer can be recycled, the rest is dumped. The toxicity of the waste is mostly due to the lead, mercury and cadmium – non-recyclable components of a single computer may contain almost 2 kilograms of lead. ...
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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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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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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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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Mining waste rock Mining waste rock
Regardless of the type of raw material, its extraction always comes with an environmental cost. Most mining leaves a lasting and damaging environmental footprint. For example, during the extraction of common metals like copper, lead or zinc from the earth both metal-bearing rock, called ore, and “overburden”, the dirt and rock that covers the ore are removed. At a typical copper mine around 125 tonnes of ore are excavated to produce just one ton...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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