"Vital Waste Graphics" released today

Geneva, Arendal, Nairobi 28th October 2004 - “What a waste! This is what we hear when we have spent more time, money or energy on something than was really necessary. It is disturbing to realize that we use the same word to indicate materials that have been used but are no longer wanted, either because they don’t work or the valuable part has been removed. In both cases, the word “waste” is related to the way we behave in the context of the consumer society. In order for communities to function smoothly, people assume and accept the generation of a certain level of waste. A whole business has developed around waste management, in certain cases contrary to the preservation of the environment and natural resources, leaving little incentive to permanently reduce the volume of waste generated.”

As part of the Seventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention held in Geneva at the Palais des Nations from 25 to 28 October 2004, a new publication, “Vital Waste Graphics”, is launched today.

Rising mountains of waste have become a major issue of our time.

From dumped chemicals and pesticides in Africa to the electronic or e-wastes piling up in Asia, waste and the shipment of hazardous materials require urgent action on both environmental and health grounds.

At the heart of the issue are the production and consumption patterns operating on the globe. If we are to deliver a healthy and more prosperous planet, if we are to realize the Millennium Development Goals, and if we are to meet the targets and time tables enshrined in the World Summit on Sustainable Development’s Plan of Implementation, we need a new vision and political will to produce and consume the goods and services of the 21st century in more efficient and less polluting ways.

The publication “Vital Waste Graphics” was initiated by the Basel Convention Secretariat and produced in partnership with UNEP/GRID-Arendal together with the Division of Environmental Conventions (DEC) of UNEP, and the Division of Early Warning Assessment-Europe of UNEP.

“Vital Waste Graphics” aims to give policymakers, experts, media professionals, teachers and students an overview of relevant waste-related issues, causes, effects, as well as possible solutions.

“Vital Waste Graphics” is based on the most recent data received by the Basel Convention Secretariat and by extensive additional research undertaken by GRID-Arendal especially for the production of the publication.

“Vital Waste Graphics” provides sound facts and figures on the broadest spectrum of issues relevant to waste today, based on clear and user-friendly graphics. These include definitions of waste, the generation of waste, different waste streams, including new problematic waste streams, the transport and trade of waste, cross-cutting themes linked to sustainable development such as climate change and poverty, among others, as well as hopes and solutions.

The publication is available on the Internet at: http://www.grid.unep.ch/waste/

For further information, please contact:
Nicole Dawe
Information Officer Basel Convention
United Nations Environment Programme
Tel: +41 22 917 82 20
Mobile: +41 79 252 79 68
Fax: +41 22 797 34 54
E-mail: Nicole.Dawe@unep.ch


Philippe Rekacewicz
Senior Cartographer
Longum Park
Technology Center
Service Box 706
N-4808 Arendal
Tel: +47 37 03 57 14
Fax: +47 37 03 50 50
E-mail: philippe@grida.no

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