Collection: Development of Waste – Development as Waste


Hazardous Waste: The Beginning of International Organizations Addressing a Growing Global Challenge in the 1970s



Hazardous waste began gaining public attention in industrialized countries in the 1970s, partly as a result of several scandals involving former waste sites. Early on, several international organizations (IOs), notably the EEC, NATO, OECD and WHO, addressed the issue in publications, surveys and the collection of data. Collectively, these initiatives addressed crucial questions regarding the definition, collection, transportation and disposal of hazardous waste. Above all, they provided space and subtle pressure for national authorities to gather information about a problem which, so far, had been all but ignored. These programs revealed the improvised nature of much policy-making at the time but also offered the opportunity to consider hazardous waste management within larger development pathways. The perspectives taken during discussions at IOs vacillated between pragmatic, simple collection of data and superficial searching for short-term management in terms of trying to get rid of the substances and more principled considerations of how to find long-term solutions for hazardous waste through comprehensive approaches that integrated all stages of production from produce planning to disposal. Thus, IOs did not prevent the increasing spread of toxic materials into the environment. But they may have mitigated its form and paved the way for alternative development planning in the long run.


hazardous wasteinternational organizationsOECDwaste and developmentNATOWHO
  • Year: 2019
  • Volume: 2 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 11
  • DOI: 10.5334/wwwj.39
  • Submitted on 3 Aug 2019
  • Accepted on 11 Sep 2019
  • Published on 12 Dec 2019
  • Peer Reviewed