International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

furthermore, it seems to me that it is hypocritical to say that we can export our advanced technological products on unsuspecting people, but not export our knowledge and our environmental concerns to those people. (p. 102)

As Gareth Porter and Janet Welsh Brown ( 1991) have made clear, the expanding trade in hazardous waste is causing a similar concern. For instance, although developing countries generate less than 10 percent of the world's hazardous waste, they have become depositories for more than 20 percent of it. Most of these countries lack the technology or administrative capacity to dispose hazardous waste safely. Nevertheless, many poor countries have been tempted to become depositories for this waste by substantial offers of revenue. Estimates suggest that as much as US$3 billion is paid to developing countries annually for accepting hazardous waste. In a number of cases waste has been exported to developing without approval or as a result of bribery.

The export of hazardous waste has been the focus of many policy and administrative discussions. It continues to be a crucial issue in regional development meetings and negotiations. The Organization of African Unity (OAU) expressed its concern about the trade in hazardous waste by passing a resolution declaring the dumping of toxic waste in Africa a crime against Africa and African people. African nations in the OAU called for a ban on the trade in hazardous waste as early as 1988. They characterized this trade as a form of economic blackmail and an environmental injustice.

These countries were not without allies in industrialized nations. For instance, this trade in hazardous waste was referred to by a Dutch minister of the environment as "waste colonialism." Also in 1988, parliamentarians from the European Community (EC) joined with representative from 68 African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) states to demand the banning of international trade in toxic wastes.

Trade in hazardous waste has been the focus of several United Nations sponsored meetings, including that of the United Nations Environment Program Working Group, which produced the Cairo Guidelines. It was also the focus of intense debate at the 1989 Basel Convention. The Conference of Parties, which evolved out of the convention, resulted in a protocol between the EC and 30 ACP states for a voluntary ban on trade in hazardous waste. This protocol was later expanded to include 68 ACP states. Members of the 1989 Basel Convention approved a global treaty in 1995 banning rich countries from dumping toxic waste in the Third World. Trade in hazardous waste was also given considerable attention at the 1992 UN-sponsored Conference on the Environment held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is expected to continue to be a major subject for discussion within the World Trade Organization.


Summary

President William Jefferson Clinton's executive order, as well as Congress's legislation, and international meetings, conventions, and agreements on hazardous waste represent a clear indication that environmental justice is a public administration and policy issue. This is also evidenced by the intensity with which individuals from minority communities, low-income groups, and developing countries have sought to address the disproportionate impact they experience from hazardous waste. The result is policy outputs that prescribe definitive administrative procedures for preventing future disparities. The challenge for public administration, however, is developing the technological tools and human resource capacity necessary for identifying, monitoring, controlling, preventing, and remediating hazards that are the focus of environmental justice.

HARVEY L. WHITE


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Been, Vicki, 1993. "What's Fairness Got to Do with It? Environmental Justice and the Siting of Locally Undesirable Land Uses". Cornell Law Review, vol. 78 (September): 1001-1085.

B ryant, Bunyan, ed., 1995. Environmental Justice: Issues, Policies, and Solutions. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Ferris, Deeohn, and David Hahn-Baker, 1995, "Environmentalists and Environmental Justice Policy, pp. 66-75. In Bunyan Bryant , ed. Environmental Justice: Issues, Policies, and Solutions. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Goldman, Benjamin A., 1993. Not Just Prosperity: Achieving Sustainability with Environment Justice. Washington, DC: National Wildlife Federation.

Norris, R., 1982. Pills, Pesticides and Profits: International Trade in Toxic Substances. With contributions by A. K. Ahmed, S. J. Sherr , and R. Richter. New York: North River Press.

Porter, Gareth, and Janet Welsh Brown, 1991. Global Environmental Politics. Boulder: Westview Press.

Weir, D., 1987. The Bhopal Syndrome. Center for Investigative Reporting. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books.

Weir D., and M. Shapiro, 1981. The Circle of Poison. San Francisco: Institute for Food and Development.

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, DOMESTIC. The study of the interactions of natural phenomena and human society. It is distinct from ecology, environmental science, and environmental studies in that it is concerned with the choices made by individuals and groups in society as they relate to the natural environment. The purpose of environmental policy as a field is to inform choices made concerning the human-environment relationship. To do so, the field of environmental policy draws upon and synthesizes information derived from numerous other disciplines.

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International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2
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