US blocks waste controls

Wednesday, September 11, 1991

US blocks waste controls

GENEVA — The United States has strongly resisted attempts by some Third World and European countries to strengthen international safeguards against the movement and dumping of hazardous wastes.

In a carefully worded statement delivered at a meeting here, the US opposed proposals for an outright international ban on the transport of harmful wastes.

The USwants this to be a private matter between individual countries, subject only to "bilateral agreement".

Developing nations, supported by the European Community, are calling for a complete outlawing of the movement of such wastes.

"Some people are inclined to regard developing countries as dumps for hazardous wastes", Mauritania's representative, Khattar Oinagi, said.

The representative of Uganda argued that if there were no outright ban, poor countries might be pressured to accept dumping on their territory in exchange for aid.

Jamaica's delegate noted that there was need for more "disclosure on the character of wastes" being moved, because Third World governments often do not have the technical expertise to judge the potential dangers of substances entering their boundaries.

The US rejected all these proposals. "We do not believe that investigation of the economic impacts associated with waste generation and management is a high priority", delegate Susan Drake argued. — Inter Press Service/Pegasus

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