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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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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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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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Ore production and waste generation at Ok Tedi Mine Ore production and waste generation at 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). From the very begi...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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