Poor are victims of toxic waste imports

Jan. 26, 2005 at 5:41 AM

GUANGZHOU, China, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- China remains one of the world's top dumping grounds for toxic waste, which is causing serious health and environmental problems in poor areas, reports say.

Developing countries are absorbing most of the world's annual 500 million tons of toxic waste, with China among the top destinations, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday.

China imported 3 million tons of waste plastic in 2003 and 1.88 million tons in the first half of last year, the newspaper said, quoting customs statistics.

The country also takes in millions of tons of "e-waste" -- computers, televisions and mobile phones -- from Europe and North America.

Greenpeace China said the waste is causing nerve damage and lung diseases in poor areas of the country where it is processed.

China recently tightened its ban on imported industrial waste in an effort to protect the environment, but many Chinese trading companies continue the illegal business because it yields high profits, Greenpeace spokesman Lai Yun said.

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