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305 Hazardous Waste


This map shows the distribution of the production of hazardous wastes. “Hazardous waste here refers to categories of waste to be controlled according to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal (Article 1 and Annex I). If data are not available according to the Basel Convention, amounts can be given according to national definitions.” (United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP], 2005). The UNEP defines hazardous wastes as follows: “Rather than adopting one definition of hazardous waste, the Convention takes a broad view that there are 45 categories of wastes that are presumed to be hazardous in the Convention. 18 of them are waste streams (i.e. clinical wastes, mineral oils, PCB) and 27 others are wastes having clearly identified constituents (i.e. mercury, lead, asbestos, organic cyanides, halogenated organic solvents). However, in order to be classified as hazardous, these categories of wastes need to exhibit one or more hazardous characteristics, such as being flammable, oxidizing, poisonous, infectious, corrosive, ecotoxic." ... "Hazardous waste is waste that owing to its toxic, infectious, radioactive or flammable properties poses an actual or potential hazard to the health of humans, other living organisms, or the environment.”

Data sources

The primary data source is the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 2005, dataset “all-waste_haz_generated: tonnes”. The underlying data source for these data is the Secretariat of the Basel Convention (Data as Reported by Parties 2004).

Where UNEP data is missing data for 2001 or nearest earlier date, data were taken from an alternative data source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2005, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. This source notes that "The data are official data supplied by national statistical offices and/or ministries of environment (or equivalent institutions) in countries in response to a biennial UNSD/UNEP questionnaire, sent out most recently in March 2004 (see: They are supplemented by data taken from UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, see: for data on greenhouse gas emissions". For more information see:

Where data is missing it is estimated from regional averages.

Click here to view detailed data source references

The quotation that accompanies this map was sourced from an article entitled ‘UK class action starts over toxic waste dumped in Africa’, written by John Vidal, and published in a daily newspaper of the United Kingdom on 8 th January, 2007. Vidal quotes Nick Nuttall the then United Nations Environment Programme’s spokeman in Nairobi, Kenya. It is Nuttall’s quotation that accompanies the poster. This article was sourced from the website below in January 2007:,,1985026,00.html

Excel sheets

Below is an explanation of each of the columns in the excel file:

Column A = Unique numerical territory (see 001).

Column B = Region and territory names (see 001).

Column C = Region code (see 001).

Column D = The ISO 3 code, or ISO ALPHA-3 (see 001).

Column E = Hazardous waste produced, in thousand tonnes in 2001. This number is taken from the source data. If the data were missing, then the regional average production of hazardous waste per person was multiplied by the population of that territory in millions (Column G) to produce an estimate of hazardous waste produced.

Column F = Hazardous waste produced, in kilograms per person per year. This is calculated by dividing the hazardous waste produced, in thousand tonnes in 2001 (Column E) by the population in millions in 2001 (Column G). (F = E / G).

Column G = Population in millions, for year 2002. For source data and derived estimates see 002, ‘Total Population’.

Column H = Hazardous waste produced, in thousand tonnes in 2001. Where data are missing ‘..’ is shown.