Skip to main content

Developed countries exporting pollution to developing countries in several ways

By Bharat Dogra 

It is well-known that life-styles in developed and rich countries are much more burdensome for environment compared to normal life-patterns in developing countries. However due to more power and resources, the developed countries are in a position to shift the burden of this on developing countries in several ways. The World Resources Report has stated, “The OECD countries and their industrial economies are directly responsible for many kinds of environmental stress – local, regional and global. In addition because they not only are heavy consumers of natural resources from developing countries but also tend to shift their pollution - intensive industries to those countries, the OECD countries also contribute indirectly to environmental stresses in developing regions.”
Some years back a senior official of the World Bank Mr. Lawrence Summers had argued in an internal memo that there are many economic and social reasons to justify the shift of dirty industries from North to South. Given such attitudes, it is not surprising that taking advantage of the pressing economic needs of developing countries or the willingness of local elites to collude with developed countries, several highly polluting industries have been increasingly shifted to developing countries. So even as life-styles of developed countries continue to be as burdensome for environment and as pollution-intensive as before, if not even more so, an outward façade of cleaner environment is created as several polluting activities needed for this have been shifted to developing countries, or the excessive waste generated as a result of this life style has been shifted there.
So when pollution levels are calculated in GHG emissions and in other ways, a significant share of what is counted as the contribution of developing countries may be actually for supporting the life-patterns and excessive consumption of developed countries. An important question arises regarding the extent of which this is taken care of in various calculations relating to pollution and emission. Several multinational companies with their base in developed countries extend their businesses to developing countries in such a way that labor-intensive and less fossil fuel-intensive work is replaced by capital intensive and energy-guzzling technologies. Who is responsible for the resulting rise in emissions? Agriculture, the most important livelihood, was a least polluting activity before the advent of the green revolution in India and several other developing countries, but the advent, spread and continuing intensification of the green revolution, imposed by developed countries and their multinational companies with the help of local colluding elites turned this steadily into a more and more polluting activity. Now with the terrible pressure from developed countries and their multinational companies to force GM crops on developing countries, the environmental destruction to farming system will become more acute in several developing countries (including India, if the ongoing resistance is unable to match the determination of the union government and colluding elites to bring in more and more GM crops.).
In some cases such extremely hazardous technologies and products, discarded in host countries, have been exported to developing countries that tens of thousands of people have died over a period of several years while even a much larger number of people have suffered from very painful diseases, injuries, birth-defects and various medical conditions. The Bhopal gas catastrophe is a shocking example of this, continuing to cause such extreme distress even after 38 years, and there are several other examples of such disasters.
While herbicides used with GM crops are being exposed for their serious health hazards in several developed countries and even damages amounting to millions of dollars have been paid in legal cases relating to these, these are being shamelessly spread more and more in several developing countries with the collusion of local powerful elites.
The shockingly unethical practices in hazardous wastes dumping have been receiving the support of many governments of developed countries in many open or hidden ways. Staring with 1989 the large scale dumping of industrial, medical and even nuclear wastes from some European countries, particularly Italy, to Somalia’s coastal areas continued for several years, bringing very serious health hazards for a very large number of people. This was hardly the only dumping of toxic wastes. In fact there are several indications that around the year 1988 or so, the hidden or open export of more or less toxic wastes increased in significant ways at several points, mostly involving export from developed to developing countries, or from rich to poor countries.
The Third World Network said in an ‘Alert for Action’ release dated August 5, 1988: “In recent years, industrialized countries have been trying hard to export their toxic waste to Third World countries. South and Central America have received toxic waste in the past, and now African countries have been offered foreign cash to accept toxic waste. Shipments of toxic waste have been sent out to be deposited in Third World countries.”
Even when wastes exported have been not exactly toxic in a very serious sense, these add to landfill sites in developing countries and ultimately to increase of methane emissions in many cases, which can be 20 times more harmful for climate change compared to carbon dioxide emissions over a period of 20 years.
All these aspects of pollution export should be taken up in a comprehensive way by developing countries and their organizations so that their full costs are realized and continuing, united efforts are made to minimize these risks and hazards for the people of developing countries.
The writer is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Planet in Peril, Protecting Earth for Children and A Day in 2071



Towards 2024: Time for ‘We the People of India’ to wake up before it is too late

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is Constitution Day once again! We, the people of India, gratefully remember 26 November 1949 when the Constitution of India was passed and adopted by the Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly comprised women and men of distinction, who were able to represent the heart and soul of the people of India without fear or favour. They gave of their best, so that we may a visionary Constitution, which would be the mainstay for and of democracy in India!

Regretful: Kapil Dev retired not leaving Indian cricket with integrity he upheld

By Harsh Thakor  Kapil Dev scaled heights as an entertainer and a player upholding the spirit of the game almost unparalleled in his era. In his time he was cricket’s ultimate mascot of sportsmanship On his day Kapil could dazzle in all departments to turn the tempo of game in the manner of a Tsunami breaking in. He radiated r energy, at a level rarely scaled in his era on a cricket field. Few ever blended aggression with artistry so comprehenisively. Although fast medium, he could be as daunting with the ball as the very best, with his crafty outswinger, offcutter, slower ball and ball that kicked from a good length. Inspite of bowling on docile tracks on the subcontinent, Kapil had 434 scalps, with virtually no assistance. I can never forget how he obtained pace and movement on flat pancakes, trapping the great Vivian Richards in Front or getting Geoff Boycott or Zaheer Abbas caught behind. No paceman carried the workload of his team’s bowling attack on his shoulders in his eras muc

How the slogan Jai Bhim gained momentum as movement of popularity and revolution

By Dr Kapilendra Das*  India is an incomprehensible plural country loaded with diversities of religions, castes, cultures, languages, dialects, tribes, societies, costumes, etc. The Indians have good manners/etiquette (decent social conduct, gesture, courtesy, politeness) that build healthy relationships and take them ahead to life. In many parts of India, in many situations, and on formal occasions, it is common for people of India to express and exchange respect, greetings, and salutation for which we people usually use words and phrases like- Namaskar, Namaste, Pranam, Ram Ram, Jai Ram ji, Jai Sriram, Good morning, shubha sakal, Radhe Radhe, Jai Bajarangabali, Jai Gopal, Jai Jai, Supravat, Good night, Shuvaratri, Jai Bhole, Salaam walekam, Walekam salaam, Radhaswami, Namo Buddhaya, Jai Bhim, Hello, and so on.

Critical factors that determine, contribute to the success and effectiveness of NGOs

By Rohit Rakshit  Over the last few years, I have been fortunate to work with numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across various states in the country. This experience has allowed me to gain insights into their diverse areas of work while also enabling me to analyze the key attributes that contribute to the success of a good NGO. According to my observations, the following are the critical factors that determine the effectiveness of an NGO.

Polytechnic Uprising 50 years ago even today inspires radical Greek youth movement

By Harsh Thakor*  On November 17, progressive sections in Greece marked the 50th anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic Uprising of 1973. A massive rally from the Athens Polytechnic passed through various parts of the city, including the US Embassy. Thousands of activists from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Communist Youth of Greece (KNE), Students Struggle Front (MAS), Federation of Greek Women (OGE), Hellenic Committee for International Detente and Peace (EEDYE), and All Workers Militant Front (PAME), among other groups, participated in the march denouncing imperialism, fascism and military dictatorship.

Delhi labour chowk workers get work for 15 days a month, 10% get grain on ration cards

By Bharat Dogra*  It is around 10 in the morning and the number of workers at the Sigalpur labor chowk in Shalimar Bagh area of Delhi is increasing. As a worker Munna says: “The hope of getting any work is much lesser now due to pollution related ban on construction but still workers assemble here in the hope of getting at least some minor repair or other work.”

How adamant Bellsonika management is continuously robbing workers' livelihood

By Harsh Thakor*  On September 27th, earlier this year, the Bellsonika Workers’ Union was stripped of legal status or registration. The Haryana government's labour department cancelled the registration of the Bellsonica workers' union over granting the membership to one of the 'contractual workers'. It was major breach on Constitutional Rights of workers, to enable the contract labour system to flourish, and tighten the noose on any form of workers resistance.

Day to remember hardship, sincere efforts of Dr Ambedkar for framing Constitution

By Dr Kapilendra Das  The 26th of November, the day of an important landmark in India's journey as an Independent, Sovereign, socialist, secular, and Democratic, Republic is celebrated as National Constitution Day in India, also known as Samvidhan Divas. On this day the constituent Assembly adopted the constitution of India in 1949 to secure the Indian Citizen's justice, liberty, equality, and union which came into effect two months later, on January 26, 1950, and India became a Republic.

TERI researchers outline ways for robust, equitable and flexible outcome at COP28

By Sanya Hans  Researchers at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) launched two crucial policy briefs ahead of the much anticipated 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) scheduled from November 30 to December 12, 2023 at Dubai, UAE.  Former climate negotiator, Ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri, a Distinguished Fellow at TERI emphasized, “Adaptation is an imperative and absolute must in present times for the Global South. COP28 needs to make the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) integral to climate commitments and action”.  “Climate change demands that energy use must be sustainable; the development imperative of the Global South demands it to be inclusive, just and fair," Mr Puri added.   Outcome on GGA will be a key determinant for the success of COP28   The policy brief titled ‘Road to Dubai and The Global Goal on Adaption’ reviewed the discussions around the GGA framework to provide perspectives on what could be a robust, equitable, and flexible outcome of the GGA process at CO

Raising temperature of frozen foods by 3 degrees from -18°C to -15°C can slash carbon emissions: Study

By Payel Sannigrahi  Frozen food temperatures could be changed by just three degrees to save the carbon dioxide emissions of 3.8 million cars per year, research suggests.