The United Nation Step E-Waste Program And Basel Convention

United Nations STEP Program and Basel Convention may be likened to an analogy where some people who after finding hard to remove a donkey that had fallen to a hole on the ground, decided to burry the donkey alive. The people shovelled the soil in to burry the donkey. Every time the soil was shoveled in, the donkey would just shake himself and move its legs and the soil would move down. And by the time the people finished shoveling the soil in, the donkey was just on the surface. This analogy may be used to explain how some people in societies and organizations have tried to bury talented and truthful people or destroy organizations with with noble causes when they find something they do not like in the people or in the organizations, only to find them resurfacing.

Humanity has since appreciated, at least by lip service that you cannot bury the truth. It seems, according to Basel Action Network, that some powerful countries and business lobby groups may be trying to bury Basel Convention by coming up with STEP program, which is being called a multi-stakeholder United Nations program (standing for “solving the e-waste problem”), promoting it, making sure that it does not have links with the Basel Convention, the preeminent intergovernmental organization working on the global e-waste issue because the amended Basel Convention bans export of toxic materials, including e-waste from member states of the organization of Economic Co-corporation and Development (OECD, 29 of the world’s most developed countries), to non-OECD countries.

Organizations that might have wanted to be part of the dialogue and founding of the STEP program, but denied to join, BAN included, can be likened to the buried donkey that came to the surface. They can be lkened to useful donkies that had fallen into a hole and in the process of being buried came to the surface. At least members of STEP would see something good in these organizations but they may find them to be too uncompromising. The people burying the donkey would be business lobby groups, STEP program member organizations, and world governments that are against Basel Convention. From the surface, it seems there is nothing wrong from receiving and buying cheap computers from the industrialized nations, but the electronic devices bought in large quantities would be obsolete in a very short time, making it necessary to dispose and bring updated ones. The major problem will be their disposal.

Through the efforts of BAN, Green peace, and other environmental organization, third world countries may become more aware of the danger of dumping of e-waste and other toxic chemicals in their countries, and work hard to create economic blocks to empower their countries, since the poor seems to have no rights of their own. However, many of the countries may choose to accept something that seems to be a lesser evil to them by accepting e-waste in order to be digital.

Jim Puckett of Basel Action network graphically capture the fears of the friends of the Basel Convention when he said that it was sadly telling that there is no mention of the Basel Convention on the STEP website, despite the fact that the STEP program claims to be pursuing an inclusive approach to the global e-waste problem and that it was also telling that the only federal government environment agency that is part of the program is the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States, the only developed country in the world that refuses to ratify the Basel Convention ban and is on record as opposing the Basel Conventions ban on the export of hazardous waste to developing countries. Puckett added that STEP appears to be designed to create a refuge for those that wish to undermine the environmental justice principals of the Basel convention and has shunned participation of those that defend them, that the STEP program now appears to be part of the global e-waste problem, rather than a solution.

STEP Program may not entirely take the blame. The developing world appear to be dying for these e-wastes to be able to bridge the digital divide. Perhaps BAN and other developed countries that have ratified the Basel Convention should come to the aid of the third world and provide them with digital technologies to be able to produce advanced and clean digital devices to be able to say no to e-waste dumping, otherwise the US may still be justified to export what may be termed e-waste to the disadvantages corners of the world and that the donkey may remained buried after all.