Hazardous Waste Problems and Management in Developing Countries: An Examination of Africa
Valentine Udoh James
There is a lot of controversy surrounding hazardous waste trade between developed and developing countries, especially because of the potential dangers that the wastes pose to the millions of inhabitants of Third World countries, many of whom do not have any idea about what the impacts of the wastes are on them and their environmental or natural resources. The rapid industrialization in the Western countries has led to the rapid rate of accumulation of hazardous wastes in countries of Europe, North America, and some parts of Asia. In these countries, there has been an increase in the high standards of environmental protection, mainly to protect humans and the environment. The places where hazardous wastes can be dumped are decreasing because of legislation and ordinances. The cost of processing the hazardous waste into less-harmful substances also has been increasing at very rapid rates. The technologies for processing the waste are expensive, and the development of new technologies takes time and manpower.
The difficulties of costs, laws, and sites of disposal have led to industries in developed countries looking for disposal sites in developing countries. In the developed countries, governments have instituted stringent laws and regulations only within the past 22 to 30 years to directly regulate hazardous waste. Industries in developed countries found the developing countries to be suitable sites for dumping their wastes because the waste storage costs in the less-developed countries were significantly lower than at sites in the developed countries. The environmental laws were less stringent and, in some countries, non- existent. The corrupt government officials of less-developed countries collaborated with fraudulent Westerners to dispose of the waste in