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Int J Health Serv. 1991;21(4):759-77.

Transboundary movements of hazardous wastes: the case of toxic waste dumping in Africa.

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  • 1Department of Geography, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Developed and developing countries are in the throes of environmental crisis. The planet earth is increasingly being literally choked by the waste by-products of development. Of major concern, especially to industrialized countries, is the problem of what to do with the millions of tons of waste materials produced each year. Owing to mounting pressure from environmental groups, the "not-in-mu-backyard" movement, the close monitoring of the activities of waste management agents, an increasing paucity of repositories for waste, and the high cost of waste treatment, the search for dumping sites for waste disposal has, in recent years, extended beyond regional and national boundaries. The 1980s have seen several attempts to export hazardous wastes to third world countries. Africa, for example, is gradually becoming the prime hunting ground for waste disposal companies. This article seeks to examine, in the context of the African continent, the sources and destinations of this form of relocation-diffusion of pollution, factors that have contributed to international trade in hazardous wastes between developed and developing countries, the potential problems such exports would bring to African countries, and measures being taken to abolish this form of international trade.

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