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World Toxic Waste Dumping Discussed

February 23, 1998

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ Environmentalists from 117 countries started work Monday on proposals to strengthen rules on hazardous waste dumping. The meeting promises to pit industrialized countries against developing ones.

During five days of talks in the Borneo island city of Kuching, delegates will discuss which hazardous wastes should be added to a worldwide ban.

They also will consider eliminating part of an accord that permits the exporting of waste intended for recycling.

That amendment has been ratified by many European countries, but is opposed by the United States and Canada, among other nations, which say that industrialized countries can help other countries recycle waste safely.

The conference, organized by the U.N. Environment Program, follows up a 1995 agreement by members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That accord banned the export of hazardous waste from industrialized countries to the developing world for dumping.

``Industries in developed countries should take the initiative to solve their own problem of toxic waste management and not take the easy way out by dumping in developing countries,″ Law Hieng Ding, Malaysia’s environment minister, was quoted as saying by Bernama news agency.

He added that exported toxic waste is generally concealed in other substances, such as fertilizer, and declared non-toxic.

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