KOREA APPEARS READY TO PLAY SPOILER ON INTERNATIONAL TOXIC WASTE TRADE
Geneva 19 September 1993, Korea, appears ready to reverse the decision
they agreed last year to ban the export of hazardous wastes from the
world’s richest countries to the rest of the world. Korea is the first
non-OECD that appears likely to break the international consensus of
countries which voted for the ban last year at the Basel Convention.
The Basel Ban decision was made possible due to the steadfast
negotiations last year by China and the G-77 group of developing
countries. They year at least 16 European countries, as well as
numerous developing countries are calling for the ban to be enshrined
as an amendment to the Basel Convention.
Korea this year however appears ready to join the United States and
Australia and play spoiler to the hard won ban decision. They have
claimed that they now find last year’s decision to ban hazardous waste
exports from the OECD to non-OECD countries as discriminatory and
therefore not acceptable. Korea is expected to become an OECD country
within two years.
“Since everyone knows that Korea will soon become an OECD country, it
is obvious that the ‘discrimination’ they are worried about is a
discrimination against Korea’s ‘right’ to export their toxic wastes to
other Asian countries such as China,” said Greenpeace political
advisor Dr. Kevin Stairs.
“It is shameful that Korea would betray all other developing countries
just because they want to continue dumping toxic wastes on foreign
soils, said Yul Chol, Secretary General of the Korean to let a tiny
sector of their industrial interests destroy one of the most
significant global environmental agreements in recant history.”
Greenpeace investigators have repeatedly documented that the export of
hazardous wastes for recycling to less-industrialised countries is not
only extremely damaging to worker health and the environment, but such
hazardous waste export also allows industries in rich countries to
avoid the costs and responsibility to clean up to and produce less
toxic waste at home.
The decision to ban all exports hazardous wastes for disposal and
recycling from member states of the Organization of Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD) to all non-OECD countries was
adopted last year at the Basel Convention meeting in a consensus
decision of all 55 parties present (including Korea). The ban was
promoted for many years by all developing and Eastern European
countries, and was hailed as a victory not only for the environment
but for the justice and solidarity of developing countries as well.
The ban is already in effect for final disposal and will go into full
effect for recycling at the and of 1997.
Greenpeace is calling on Korea to withdraw their misguided amendment
proposal and support the full ban amendment as proposed by Norway.
For more information contact
Kevin Stairs or Jim Puckett in Geneva at 41-22-328-3055 (hotel),