Tag Archives: illegal dumping

Radioactive Waste Landfill in Lebanon?

Adloun town Lebanon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has filed a lawsuit against merchants responsible for importing radioactive products into Lebanon, a judicial source told The Daily Star Thursday.  Berri filed the case with the State Prosecution on March 11, 2015, on behalf of himself as both a citizen of Lebanon and the speaker of Parliament, the source added.

The case targets those who participated “in the crime of importing radioactive products to Lebanon, which has negative effects on public health and the environment.”Berri requested that the locations of radioactive products be determined, the suspects detained and the material sent back to the source. State Prosecutor Judge Samir Hammoud tasked criminal investigators with carrying out the probe…

The move came after the local newspaper As-Safir reported that Defense Minister Samir Moqbel had made a decision to transform a  into a landfill for radioactive waste.  After Berri voiced his rejection to the plan, Army Commander Gen.Jean Kahwagi assured him that it would not go through.  The Secretary General of the National Council for Scientific Research Mouin Hamzeh also told As-Safir that the plan violated environmental laws, because the landfill would be close to touristic and residential areas….

As-Safir’s report also stated that “gangs and mafias” had been smuggling radioactive products from Syria and Iraq through illegal crossings on the Lebanese borders.

Excerpt, Lebanon speaker sues over radioactive imports, Daily Star, Mar. 12, 2015

Illegal Nuclear Waste Dumping, Japan

Naraha,_Fukushima

Cleanup crews in Fukushima Prefecture have dumped soil and leaves contaminated with radioactive fallout into rivers. Water sprayed on contaminated buildings has been allowed to drain back into the environment. And supervisors have instructed workers to ignore rules on proper collection and disposal of the radioactive waste.  Decontamination is considered a crucial process in enabling thousands of evacuees to return to their homes around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and resume their normal lives.  But the decontamination work witnessed by a team of Asahi Shimbun reporters shows that contractual rules with the Environment Ministry have been regularly and blatantly ignored, and in some cases, could violate environmental laws.  “If the reports are true, it would be extremely regrettable,” Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato said at his first news conference of the year on Jan. 4. “I hope everyone involved will clearly understand how important decontamination is to the people of Fukushima.”

He called on the Environment Ministry to investigate and present a clear report to the prefectural government.  The shoddy practices may also raise questions about the decontamination program itself–and the huge amounts of money pumped into the program.  The central government initially set aside 650 billion yen ($7.4 billion) to decontaminate areas hit by radioactive substances from the March 11, 2011, accident at the Fukushima plant. Since last summer, the Environment Ministry has designated 11 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture for special decontamination work.  Work has already begun in four municipalities to remove radioactive substances from areas within 20 meters of buildings, roads and farmland.  The Environment Ministry itself does not have the know-how to decontaminate such a large area, so it has given contracts to joint ventures led by major construction companies to do the work.

A contract worth 18.8 billion yen to decontaminate the municipality of Naraha was awarded to a group that includes Maeda Corp. and Dai Nippon Construction. A 7.7-billion-yen contract for Iitate was signed with a group that includes Taisei Corp., while a 4.3-billion-yen contract for Kawauchi was given to a group led by Obayashi Corp. A consortium that includes Kajima Corp. was awarded a 3.3-billion-yen contract to clean up Tamura.  In signing the contracts, the Environment Ministry established work rules requiring the companies to place all collected soil and leaves into bags to ensure the radioactive materials would not spread further. The roofs and walls of homes must be wiped by hand or brushes. The use of pressurized sprayers is limited to gutters to avoid the spread of contaminated water. The water used in such cleaning must be properly collected under the ministry’s rules.

A special measures law for dealing with radioactive contamination of the environment prohibits the dumping of such waste materials. Violators face a maximum prison sentence of five years or a 10-million-yen fine.  From Dec. 11 to 18, four Asahi reporters spent 130 hours observing work at various locations in Fukushima Prefecture.At 13 locations in Naraha, Iitate and Tamura, workers were seen simply dumping collected soil and leaves as well as water used for cleaning rather than securing them for proper disposal. Photographs were taken at 11 of those locations.

Excerpt, CROOKED CLEANUP (1): Radioactive waste dumped into rivers during decontamination work in Fukushima, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, Jan. 4, 2012

Who Dumps Hazardous Waste Illegally? Walgreens

Walgreens store

The lawsuit contends that more than 600 Walgreens stores throughout the state [of California] including 36 in San Diego unlawfully handled and disposed of hazardous waste for more than six years. The hazardous waste included pesticides, bleach, paint, aerosols, automotive products and solvents, pharmaceutical and bio hazardous waste, and other toxic, ignitable and corrosive materials.,,

During the summer and fall of 2011, investigators from the San Diego District Attorney’s Office Environmental Protection Unit and County Department of Environmental Health regulators, along with other district attorney investigators and environmental regulators statewide, conducted a series of waste inspections of dumpsters belonging to Walgreens’ stores. The inspections revealed that Walgreens routinely and systematically sent hazardous waste to local landfills….

Under the final judgment, Walgreens must pay $16.57 million in civil penalties and costs. It also funds supplemental environmental projects furthering consumer protection and environmental enforcement in California. The retailer will be bound under the terms of a permanent injunction prohibiting similar future violations of law. Under the settlement, Illinois-based Walgreen Co. will pay $223,000 in civil penalties and cost recovery to San Diego County Department of Environmental Health and $507,750 in civil penalties and cost recovery to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.

Stores are now required to retain their hazardous waste in segregated, labeled containers so as to minimize the risk of exposure to employees and customers and to ensure that incompatible wastes do not combine to cause dangerous chemical reactions. Hazardous waste produced by California Walgreens stores through damage, spills and returns is now being collected by state-registered haulers, taken to proper disposal facilities and properly documented and accounted for….

Walgreens to Pay $16.57 Million for Hazardous Waste, http://www.countynewscenter.com, Dec. 13, 2012

Official document by the District Attorney’s Office (pdf)

Tricks of Illegal Waste Dumping

The US Navy has launched its own investigation into allegations that its contractor has been dumping on Subic Bay hazardous wastes which it siphons from US Navy ships docked here.  In an e-mailed statement on Saturday, Cynthia Cook, deputy press attache of the US Embassy in Manila, said the US Navy had “initiated its own inquiry into allegations of hazardous waste dumping by Glenn Defense Marine Philippines, a contractor for the US Navy in the Philippines.”  Cook said the embassy was aware of the investigation being conducted by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), and that it would “take appropriate action depending on the outcome of those processes.”

The SBMA board of directors is meeting on Monday to discuss the results of the initial investigation into the reported dumping by Glenn Defense Marine Philippines, the local operator of the Malaysian-owned Glenn Defense Marine Asia, said SBMA Chair Roberto Garcia.  In a letter to the SBMA earlier, the lawyers of Glenn Defense claimed that the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFACOM) was the only agency authorized to address complaints about toxic dumping at Subic Bay.  Also on Saturday, the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce announced it had suspended the membership of Glenn Defense, a registered locator of the Subic Bay Freeport.

Danny Piano, SBFCC president, said the group was aware of the alleged dumping in Subic waters since October. He said the chamber’s environmental committee has been on the lookout for potential environmental problems around the freeport.  Piano recounted: “At around 8 a.m. on Oct. 15, members of the committee spotted a marine [vessel] collecting liquid waste from a US Navy ship at Alava Pier. They became curious [as to] why a [ship], and not a [sewage] truck, would be performing waste collection [for] a naval ship already berthed at a pier…  “Sensing potential hazard, the members reported the situation to the SBMA ecology department for a spot check and to make sure that proper procedures were followed in dumping the waste.”

The vessel, MT Glenn Guardian, had been carrying around 50,000 gallons of domestic waste and around 200 gallons of bilge water (or a combination of water, oil, and grease), which were untreated according to laboratory tests, Piano said.

By Robert Gonzaga, US Navy begins inquiry into toxic waste dumping, Inquirer Central Luzon, Nov. 10, 210

Illegal Disposal of Hazardous Waste in Developed Countries: Electro-Coating

Electro-Coatings of Iowa,Inc., a chrome, nickel, and zinc plating operation, has agreed to pay a $19,171 civil penalty to the United States to settle a series of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) violations in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In addition to paying the civil penalty, the company will spend a minimum of $110,000 to install technology that will reduce the amount of hazardous chrome waste generated at the facility as a supplemental environmental project.

According to an administrative consent agreement and final order filed by EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, Kan., an EPA inspector conducted an inspection at the company’s Cedar Rapids facility in May 2011, and noted several violations of the federal act which regulates hazardous waste.  “Facilities that generate hazardous waste must ensure that the proper procedures are followed in the handling, storage, and management of the waste stream,” EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks said. “Proper management practices reduce the risk of harm to human health and the environment in the event of an accidental release.”

Electro-Coatings of Iowa, Inc., generates a large quantity of hazardous waste, over 1,000 kilograms per month. The violations included storage of hazardous waste for longer than 90 days without a RCRA permit, hazardous waste container management violations, emergency equipment violations, training violations, RCRA contingency plan violations, universal waste management violations, operation of a hazardous waste facility without a RCRA permit, and failing to comply with hazardous waste generator requirements, including failure to label waste containers, failure to date waste containers, and failure to keep waste containers closed.

By agreeing to the settlement with EPA, Electro-Coatings of Iowa, Inc., has certified that it is now in compliance with the RCRA regulations.

Electro-Coatings of Iowa, Inc., to Pay $19,171 Civil Penalty for Hazardous Waste Violations in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, EPA Press Release, July 26,  2012

The Nightmare of Electronic Waste

The lack of adequate management of electronic waste in Guatemala is posing a serious threat to the environment and health, as demand for electronic devices has soared to the point that there are more cell phones than people.  Computers, mobile phones, refrigerators, microwave ovens and a long list of other devices and appliances end up in garbage dumps and even rivers, and the public is unaware of the danger posed by toxic substances in the products, experts warn.   Chrome, mercury, lead, selenium and arsenic are some of the most toxic substances in e-waste, which can cause serious damages to health, Mayron España, director of E-Waste de Guatemala, an NGO that collects such products for recycling, told IPS….”And all of these metals end up in the water sooner or later,” because they seep into groundwater or because e-waste is dumped into surface water bodies like rivers, said España, whose organisation collects e-waste to be recycled abroad.

According to Guatemala’s telecoms regulator, the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones, the number of mobile phones in use in 2011 reached 20.7 million in this country of 14 million people – up from just 3.1 million in 2004.  And a similar increase has been seen in the case of computers, digital cameras and TV sets, and other products.  But these devices are highly polluting. A single nickel cadmium battery cell phone can pollute 50,000 litres of water, according to environmental watchdog Greenpeace.

A study on e-waste by the Guatemalan Centre for Cleaner Production, “Diagnóstico sobre la generación de desechos electrónicos en Guatemala”, concluded that by 2015, at least 13,000 tons of cell phones and 18,600 tons of computers and accessories will have been thrown out in this Central American country.  The report proposes the “three R’s”- reduce, reuse, recycle – to curb the negative impact of e-waste on the environment.  The study, carried out by two engineers, Sonia Solís and Andrés Chicol, calls for the formulation of e-waste management plans as part of a national strategy that should include activities aimed at raising public awareness about the problem.

Adriana Grimaldi, a chemistry professor at the private Mariano Gálvez University, stressed the urgent need to address the question of e-waste because of the serious risks posed to the environment and human health.  Grimaldi said PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), whose production is banned by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, are among the “most powerful and carcinogenic” substances used in electrical devices like transformers and capacitors….Julio Urías, an adviser to the Red Giresol – the Guatemalan network of environmental promoters for prevention and integrated management of solid waste – says there is much to be done in the area of waste management in Guatemala, although he also mentioned important efforts by social organisations and private companies.  He said that an essential step is to draft and enforce “viable legislation.” He also called for “education and information for the population about consumption habits.”

The government’s National Commission on Solid Waste Management estimates that just five percent of the 7,000 tons of solid waste produced daily in this country is recycled.

However, there are positive experiences with recycling, which show that it can generate opportunities for people who have none.  That is the case of Edulibre, a non-profit that donates old computers to public schools in poor areas.  “Companies donate their old computers to us,” Javier Hernández, a computer technician who works with Edulibre, told IPS. “We check them and install our own operating system that we have adapted for Guatemala, from free software.”  Since 2007, the organisation has also set up five computer labs in the capital and other parts of the country, which serve more than 1,000 children, while protecting the environment by reusing old equipment.

Excerpts, Danilo Valladares, More Cell-Phones than People, and No E-Waste Treatment in Guatemala, IPS, Apr. 2, 2012

Banning Hazardous Waste Trade

Illegal E-Waste Trade

Exporting E-Waste