The proportions of the waste traffic electronic WEEE go far beyond national borders. Indeed, it is with international trafficking that criminal organizations, because this is what it is about, obtain the greatest profits. According to the 2014 dossier edited by the WEEE Coordination Center in collaboration with Legambiente, the geographical area most affected by the waste traffic illegal is Africa. Nigeria and especially Ghana are the two largest 'landfill countries' used by traffickers from European countries, including Italians. In Asia, however, mainly electronic waste from the United States ends up.
What do the international standards say? According to the 1992 Basel Convention, i WEEE electronic waste they cannot leave OECD countries. This means that only used but still functional devices can be shipped to Africa and Asia. United Nations directives encourage the import and trade of second-hand electronics in developing countries, as long as they are in fact working devices. This should be enough to knock out the waste traffic WEEE, but that's not the case.
Legambiente has documented that in the ports of cities in West Africa, containers full of out-of-use appliances are piled up every day, certainly not intended for trade, but to be piled up as waste in open-air landfills. These containers, vehicle of the waste traffic WEEE comes mainly from the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain and Italy. As regards the Italian starting points, Legambiente has reconstructed in a map of investigations on the illicit traffic of WEEE waste that the seaport with the largest number of investigations in progress is that of Ancona, followed by Bari, Civitavecchia and Venice.
The WEEE waste traffic towards Africa dribbles international standards by mixing waste with devices destined for reuse. According to data from the United Nations Program for the Environment UNEP, in 2009 220 thousand tons of electrical and electronic devices left for Africa from European countries, of which a third to be sent for reuse and the remaining part destined for landfills. uncontrolled often obtained in abandoned mines and gravel pits.
How much does the waste traffic international WEEE? A container that can hold up to 300 computers on the Ghanaian market can cost up to $ 5,000. It is enough for 25 devices to be functional to be able to sell for about $ 200 each on the second-hand market and balance the expedition.The rest can be cannibalized in illegal landfills, for example that of Agbogbloshie in Ghana, where thousands of people they are used without any protection in the dismantling of equipment to extract precious metals and rare earths.