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Nigeria dumping ground for TVs, mobiles: Greenpeace

Greenpeace said the operation highlighted how the failure of electronic companies to take responsibility for recycling their products was expanding the trade in hazardous waste from Europe to the developing world.
by Staff Writers
Lagos (AFP) Feb 18, 2009
Nigeria has become a dumping ground for potentially toxic electronic waste such as televisions disguised as second-hand goods from developed countries, Greenpeace said Wednesday.

"Nigeria is just one of many destinations for the developed world's toxic e-waste," the global environmental group said in a statement.

The group said its finding was based on an undercover operation it carried out with Sky television in the United Kingdom.

Greenpeace said the operation highlighted how the failure of electronic companies to take responsibility for recycling their products was expanding the trade in hazardous waste from Europe to the developing world.

"Companies can stop this illegal toxic trade now by ensuring their goods are free from hazardous components," it said.

"It is critical they take full responsibility for the safe recycling of their products and put an end to the growing e-waste dumps that are poisoning people and the environment across the developing world," said Martin Hojsik, Greenpeace international toxics campaigner.

Greenpeace said children often break apart television sets, mobile phones, game consoles and other electronic items that arrive in their tonnes across the developing world.

"With no safety measures, they are exposed to highly toxic chemicals, including mercury, which damages the brain; lead, which can damage reproductive systems; and cadmium, which causes kidney damage," it said.

Greenpeace said it launched the operation by taking an irreparably broken television, fitted with a tracking device, to the United Kingdom's Hampshire County council for recycling.

"Instead of being safely dismantled in the UK or Europe, as required by law, the council's 'recycling' company BJ Electronics passed it on as 'second-hand goods' after which it ended up in Nigeria," it added.

In 2007, an American NGO, Basel Action Network, published a report in which it said that some 500 containers with 400,000 second-hand computers were unloaded every month in Lagos, Nigeria's most populous city with some 15 million people.

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UN urges world to tackle mercury health threat
Nairobi (AFP) Feb 15, 2009
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on Sunday urged environment ministers meeting this week in Nairobi to adopt a strategy to curb the use of the highly toxic metal mercury.







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