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Sponsor Post: Waste Around the World

These days, there are hardly any countries in the world that aren't struggling with waste management problems in some form or another. In first world countries like the U.S. and Great Britain, the problem of consumer-generated waste is ever growing, driven by an economy that encourages throw-away products and "requires" upgraded electronics every two or three years, at least. However, what many consumers in the first world are unaware of is how their waste affects third world countries.

In third world countries, families are barely able to scrape by, so they aren't likely to generate much waste of their own. Why, then, is waste becoming such a problem in these areas?

The Issue

The issue is that many first world countries will ship their unwanted goods and even hazardous waste to third world countries, particularly in Africa. According to a National Geographic article, hazardous waste shipping is a matter of economics.

A Question of Money

It's much more affordable for companies who generate hazardous waste to pay to dispose of it in third world countries, such as the Ivory Coast of Africa, where governments and unscrupulous authorities will charge pennies on the dollar for waste disposal. In 2006, for instance, the Ivory Coast experienced a wave of sickness when a load of toxic cargo was dumped off its coast. "Instead of paying the $300,000 (U.S.) disposal fee in Europe . . . the dirty tanks were sent to Cote d'Ivoire, where a local disposal company reportedly agreed to empty them for $12,000 (U.S.). [National Geographic]"

Growing Out of Control

Even when waste isn't necessarily hazardous enough to cause major illness among third world peoples, it often converts otherwise pristine areas into trash heaps that are completely mismanaged and are growing out of control.

What Can We Do?

What can the first world do to protect its more vulnerable neighbors from excess waste and illegal waste dumping? Stricter controls on waste shipping are essential, but on an individual level, we need to be recycling as much as possible through reputable recycling companies, rather than generating more waste than our world can handle!

About Recycle San Diego

Recycle San Diego is the area’s preeminent provider of recycling services, including electronics recycling, battery recycling, ewaste drop-off and pickup services and business waste management. Recycle San Diego also offers ewaste collection events, hard drive destruction and paper shredding services. Learn more at RecycleSanDiego.org.

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