Tuesday, May 26, 2009

australia loves china

Australia's e-waste dumped in China

CANBERRA, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Electronic waste from Australian homes such as old computers, televisions and mobile phones were dumped in China which fuels toxic pollution in the country, local media reports Friday.

The Sydney Morning Herald said illegal shipments of electronic waste from Australian homes have been seized from cargo vessels, part of a little-known smuggling trade that fuels toxic pollution in China.

Since 2008, 12 ships carrying "e-waste" have been intercepted leaving Australia for Asian ports without hazardous materials permits, including four so far this year, Australian Customs and the Department of Environment confirmed Thursday.

However, these seizures were the tip of the iceberg, recycling industry sources said.

Only about 4 percent of the nation's e-waste is recycled, the Environment Department says. Most of the rest goes into landfill, and an unknown proportion is shipped overseas illegally.

The Environment Department said it had co-operated with the Australian Customs Service to intercept ships in both Australian and foreign ports. Materials seized had been safely processed in Australia but no prosecutions for illegal shipping of e-waste had been carried out yet.

About 37 million computers have been buried in landfill around Australia, along with 17 million TVs and 56 million mobile phones, according to a report prepared 2008 by the Total Environment Center, using government data.

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