/ languages

Choisir langue

Brazil/UK waste row

Hundreds of tonnes of British waste dumped in Brazil, says government

Article published on the 2009-07-31 Latest update 2009-07-31 18:00 TU

Brazilian President Lula da Silva(Photo: AFP)

Brazilian President Lula da Silva
(Photo: AFP)

Brazil has accused Britain of exporting hundreds of tons of household waste illegally. About 1,400 tonnes of British waste have been discovered in recent weeks in Brazil, supposedly shipped there as recyclable plastic.

Brazil filed a report with the secretariat of the Basel Convention, the international body that oversees trade in hazardous waste, according to a Brazilian diplomat.

The secratariat will investigate the claim, and the British Environment Agency has already said it is planning to ship back the 89 mislabelled containers.

The waste from Britain arrived in containers marked as plastic for recycling. But Brazil's environmental agency found baby nappies, syringes, condoms, batteries and food remains, among other other waste.

"Especially the batteries are very dangerous because they contain a lot of hazardous heavy metals which can be very toxic," says Kim Schoppink of Greenpeace International.

Comment: Toxics analyst Kim Schoppink at Greenpeace International

31/07/2009 by Salil Sarkar

"Also the other products, like cleaning products, can contain hazardous chemicals," she told RFI.

The Basel Convention banned the export of waste from rich countrries to developing ones, she says, because they are unlikely to be able to dispose of it cleanly.

"So in Brazil, probably, this waste will be burnt and this will release toxic chemicals into the air and, because of that, it is called hazardous waste and it's illegal to bring it to Brazil."

Bookmark and Share