Placeholder image

Obama urged to curb e-waste exports

July 27, 2016

The Basel Action Network (BAN) called for the US President to sign an executive order banning e-waste exports to developing countries.

US President Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama

The BAN, in a press release, urged Barack Obama to “sign an executive order in his final months” as US President to “once and for all stop the ongoing exportation of the federal government’s electronic waste to developing countries”. BAN, “other environmental groups, recycling industries and consumers” asked for the order in a petition because it would “not only protect the environment and human health, but would also provide thousands of green recycling jobs” in the US.

The network also believes that the order would “provide government digital inclusion programmes with a source of refurbishable computing equipment”, having previously revealed results of a two-year-study that “utilised geo-locating tracking devices implanted in e-waste”. It found that almost 40 percent of devices sent to certified electronics recyclers – those “preferentially used by US government agencies” – were “exported to informal, highly polluting operations in Hong Kong” and Asia.

The BAN added that the US is “the only developed country in the world that has virtually no legal controls in place to prevent the export of hazardous electronic waste to developing countries”, and even despite “numerous attempts in recent years to prohibit the export of electronic waste” being proposed. These have been opposed by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries’ “formidable lobby”, and have “failed to find a hearing in the House of Representatives”.

In turn, the US federal government is believed to be “the largest single generator of electronic waste in the world”, with the network preparing a “scrapbook” of images from Ghana, Nigeria and China that show US government e-waste – even from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – that it has found “in [its] investigations over recent years”.

Jim Puckett, Executive Director of BAN, commented: “Sadly, the shameful global dumping has continued unabated due to a disgraceful industry lobby manipulation of a dysfunctional Congress. A signature from Obama to properly manage the federal government’s own e-waste would not only send a powerful message, but would in fact result in replacing cancer and birth defects with sustainable safe jobs.

“Signing this petition is a unique chance for all of us to act to promote environmental justice and the green economy. Please sign now!”

Categories : Around the Industry

Tags :

Leave a Reply