In the ongoing retreaded tires dispute, part of Brazil's defense is that it should be able to restrict imports of used tires because of the environmental damage they cause. But the problem seems to be a more general one, applying to other forms of waste products:
Devising measures to reduce the millions of tons of electronic waste generated each year by manufacturers of computers, mobile phones, and other consumer electronic products is the focus of a United Nations-sponsored conference this week in Nairobi, Kenya.
The U.N. estimates that up to 50 million metric tons of "e-waste" are generated worldwide every year, representing more than 5 percent of all municipal solid waste. In the United States alone, as many as 20 million PCs are thrown out every year.
A good chunk of that waste ends up in Africa and other developing countries, according to the U.N.
Every month, more than 100,000 discarded computers enter the Nigerian port of Lagos alone, said U.N. Undersecretary General Achim Steiner in a speech.
Local experts estimate that up to 75 percent of the used PCs, TVs, and phones sent from developed countries are unusable and end up in the landfills of developing countries, where the items are often burned, releasing toxic fumes and leaching chemicals.
It would certainly be nice if some action could be taken by governments and the companies involved, to prevent other trade disputes similar to the tires case from erupting