Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)


School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name



Political Science


This dissertation examines international dumping trade in hazardous and toxic wastes and its impact on the trading countries in West Africa, relying on available and fairly limited information on transboundary movement of “unwanted wastes” shipped more often illegally for dumping from industrialized to poor West African countries between 1980- 1988. The drive for this trade in “unwanted wastes” from West African countries has been the seeming attraction for easy cash, while the drive from the industrialized countries has been the huge profit margin for the unsavory waste brokers, and the desperate need for cheap source of disposal. Given these motivations and the attendant health and environmental problems with inexplicable outcomes associated with this type of trade, the study takes off from the premise that proper economic development in this poor region of West Africa is not properly served by international trade in "unwanted wastes.” This postulation, the paper explains, adopts two methods of analysis a theoretical approach and an empirical approach. The theoretical approach analyzes the realists, radical/marxists and dependency theorists arguments which favor protectionism, in contrast with the liberal theorists arguments which favor laissez-faire capitalism. In the empirical approach, analysis is made by developing and testing a hypothesis in five West African countries involved in the international wastes dumping trade. One major finding is that at least two of the five tested cases confirm the hypothesis--that the hazardous and toxic wastes dumping trade in West Africa follows the path of the poor, the corrupt or uninformed and it is exploitative. Conclusion derived from the analyses is that the international trade in "unwanted wastes” does not serve proper economic development in West Africa and should be banned. The study recommends the elimination or minimization of more toxic wastes production through prevention and adoption of Al Gore’s new initiative of phasing out dirty production practices with sophisticated technology.

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