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Annual world nuclear reactor construction / Spent fuel generation Annual world nuclear reactor construction / Spent fuel generation
Both the volume and the level of radioactivity have to be considered – a large volume of waste with a low-level of radioactivity presents less danger than a smaller amount of waste with a high-level of radioactivity. For example, spent fuel (elements that have been removed from a reactor after use) makes up less than 1% of the volume of radioactive waste, but contains almost 95% of the total radioactivity.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Ability of countries to support their citizens from their own environment Ability of countries to support their citizens from their own environment
The Ecological Footprint measures the amount of productive land area needed to support a nation’s consumption and waste. This indicator shows that in many countries, as well as for the planet as a whole, the demand for natural resources, or the 'ecological capacity', exceeds the amount available. Countries that are not able to support their national consumption with their own natural resources are running at an 'ecological deficit'. Therefore the...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Personal computers per 1000 people Personal computers per 1000 people
It is estimated that there are over a billion personal computers in the world at present. In developed countries these have an average life span of only 2 years. In the United States alone there are over 300 million obsolete computers. (US National Safety Council).
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Trends in transboundary movement of waste among Parties to the Basel Convention Trends in transboundary movement of waste among Parties to the Basel Convention
The amount of waste on the move is increasing rapidly. Reports to the Basel Convention on the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal suggest that between 1993 and 2001 the amount of waste crisscrossing the globe increased from 2 million tonnes to more than 8.5 million tonnes. What is this material that is being traded between countries, where is it from and where is it going? Unfortunately data on waste movement...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Raw materials consumption in the United States Raw materials consumption in the United States
The United States consumption of key raw materials is rising fast. Since 1950 some raw material consumption has increase by over 200 percent. Raw materials used for construction has risen over 400 percent in the same time period.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Percentage of the population served by municipal waste services Percentage of the population served by municipal waste services
Waste collection is a basic public service performed for everyone in OECD countries. Everyone? Well, a closer look reveals that this is not the case for a significant number of people. If these developed countries can’t collect all their waste, imagine the situation in many developing countries, where resources are much scarcer and access is sometimes problematic. This graphic presents the situation in selected OECD countries, highlighting a numb...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Consumption of selected industrial raw materials compared to global population Consumption of selected industrial raw materials compared to global population
Five of the top countries consuming industrial raw materials account for roughly 10 percent of the world's population but consume up to 50 percent of more of some of the main materials. This shows a large imbalance between these 5 nations and the other 188.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Municipal solid waste composition: for 7 OECD countries and 7 Asian cities Municipal solid waste composition: for 7 OECD countries and 7 Asian cities
In most countries in the world, organic materials and paper are the main contributors to municipal waste. In developing countries, large cities generate most of the municipal waste. Data are rarely available for rural areas, but factors like the type of energy source used for cooking and heating and seasonal differences play a part in the composition of waste (for example in rural communities in Mongolia there is a large difference between the vo...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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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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Ok Tedi mine Ok Tedi mine
The Ok Tedi mine is located high in the rain forest covered Star Mountains of Papua New Guinea. Prior to 1981 the local Wopkaimin people lived a subsistence existence in one of the most isolated places on earth. That was before the 10 000 strong town of Tabubil suddenly appeared in the middle of their community. The Ok Tedi mine was built on the world’s largest gold and copper deposit (gold ore capping the main copper deposit).
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Export waste as reported by Australia, in tonnes, 2001 Export waste as reported by Australia, in tonnes, 2001
Australia is not a big player in the waste trade, but a good percentage of its exports are shipped all the way to Europe. In 2000 Australia reported the export of 16 689 tonnes of waste (all classifi ed as hazardous) to New Zealand, Belgium, Great Britain, France and Austria. More than half the waste consisted of used lead acid batteries, which were moved across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand. Most of the rest of the waste (described as lead dro...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, 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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Shipbreaking in Asia Shipbreaking in Asia
Prior to 1970, shipbeaking was concentrated in Europe. It was a highly mechanised activity carried out at docks by skilled workers. However the increasing cost of upholding environmental health and safety guidelines made it unprofitable. So the industry moved from the steel capped boots and hard hats of Europe to the bare footed workers of Asia. It is estimated that approximately 100 000 Asians are employed as ship breakers. (International Labou...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Municipal solid waste generation for selected large cities in Asia Municipal solid waste generation for selected large cities in Asia
Municipal waste is everything collected and treated by municipalities. Only part of it is comes from households, the rest is generated by small businesses, commercial and other municipal activities. So it is produced from both consumption and production processes. Like all waste, municipal waste is on the rise and it is growing faster than the population, a natural result of our increasing consumption rate and the shortening of product life-spans...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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What is in a Swiss rubbish bag? (household waste) What is in a Swiss rubbish bag? (household waste)
The amount and composition of municipal waste depends on a variety of factors. It is related to our living standard but wealth does not explain everything. It is also correlated with levels of urbanization, energy choices, waste management strategies and the “good” or “bad” habits of consumers. Although our garbage bins represent only a small part of the total waste generated, it is an important part: the one in which everyone can take action. Th...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Waste generation from manufacturing Waste generation from manufacturing
Manufacturing waste, as you would expect from the vast range of products produced and processes involved, is a very diverse group. The waste generated depends 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.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Agriculture and manufacturing waste generation Agriculture and manufacturing waste generation
Agricultural waste consists of things like pesticide waste, discarded pesticide containers, plastics such as silage wrap, bags and sheets, packaging waste, old machinery, oil and waste veterinary medicines. In a comparison between selected European countries, Hungary and Ireland have a greater share of waste from agriculture and forestry.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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