EU tightens toxic shipment rules
New rules intended to stop toxic waste getting dumped in developing countries have come into force across the EU. The step follows the dumping last year of waste in Ivory Coast by a Dutch-chartered ship, which caused 16 deaths and made thousands more sick. The rules oblige national authorities to make spot checks on ships and give them the right to open containers. Waste being moved around the EU will also have to be accompanied by detailed information.
Martin Hojsik, a toxics expert with environmental campaign group Greenpeace, said it was too early to say whether waste exporters would be able to find ways around the new rules. He said it was possible the new inspection regime would enable officials to identify shipments of old computers - described by exporters as "second-hand goods" - as illegal waste destined for recycling in China, India or Nigeria. "I don't want to judge it, I want to see it in operation first," he said. It is already illegal to export hazardous waste from the EU to countries outside the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), under the Basel Convention.
The new rules also make it illegal to export non-hazardous waste for disposal in countries outside the EU or the European Free Trade Area (EFTA). Martin Hojsik said countries might be less willing to turn a blind eye to hazardous waste movements under the new system.
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