Friday, February 27, 2009

E-waste destined to Ghana caught in Amsterdam port

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

A container full of e-waste destined to Ghana has been arrested at the port of Amsterdam in Holland, according to a Radio Netherlands report Friday February 27, 2009.

The report said inspectors from the country’s environment ministry intercepted the container filled with broken electronics equipment from a major Dutch store chain, but ministry officials declined to name the store.

According to the officials, the container was filled with broken deep-frying pans, water cookers and other electronic waste in the port of Amsterdam ready to be shipped to Ghana.

According to the report, a Ghanaian exporter has bought the items without proper documentation from a trader who had bought the items from the store. The names of the Ghanaian exporter and the Dutch trader were also not given.

The report also indicated that charges would be brought against the store, trader and Ghanaian exporter.

The inspectorate reportedly has announced a crackdown on recycling companies, recycled goods shops and collectors of electronics waste which violate environmental laws. has contacted sources in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam and will keep readers updated on developments.

Ghana and other African countries, notably Nigeria have become the dumping grounds for e-waste from developing countries, especially Europe and America.

European countries have passed the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) to control the handling and disposal of e-waste of electronics waste. But it appears poor supervision is encouraging unscrupulous organizations and individuals to export the cocktail of poisonous chemicals into Ghana and other developing industries.

The US is one of three signatories to the Basel Convention, including Afghanistan and Haiti which have not deposed instruments of ratifications.

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the most comprehensive global environmental treaty on hazardous and other wastes.

It has 170 member countries (Parties) and aims to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects resulting from the generation, management, transboundary movements and disposal of hazardous and other wastes.

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