My Nightly Christian Prayer

Now we lay us down to rest, relax, and/or sleep, Allah.

I pray to you, Allah, our souls to keep.

Guard us through the long starry night, Allah, and waken us at morning’s very first light or as appropriate.

If we should die before we wake, we pray to you, Allah, our souls to take.

In your precious Son Jesus’ name, I pray to you, Jehovah Elohim Allah. Amen.



Allah:  Arabic word for God long before the year 610 (marked as the start of Islam).


Hail Purdue!

Not too long ago, my mother returned some papers, awards, and documents that she had in her possession. She said we (my siblings and I) should share the information with our children and grandchildren.  We all had a good laugh over the rough draft of the essay I submitted to Purdue University. I’m so glad that they wanted to meet the person who wrote it.  The essay served as a re-introduction to the person that I still am.  So, thanks, Mom, for keeping a part of me.

Purdue Essay

Hail Purdue. Here’s the chorus:


Who are we really helping?

Have you ever heard the expression about pulling yourself up by your own boot straps? What if you don’t have boot straps? Or even boots for that matter? 

I heard someone say it’s your own fault if someone knocks you down, and you don’t get up. Well, if you chop off my arms and legs, roll me down a hill, and stomp on me; it might take me a minute to get back up. So, just bear with me for still being down for a while.

People and organizations ask for help all the time. We’re more than happy to give and help, but every now and then, you have to help yourself. The money that such and such borrowed and will never pay back, could have helped you buy milk one day. When you’re standing at the checkout in Wal-Mart with milk, bread, and one frozen kid’s meal and none of your bank cards work, you have no cash, they won’t accept your bag of pennies, your child is saying, “Mommy, what’s wrong? That’s never happened before;” you are in tears, and a perfect stranger swipes her debit card to cover the eight dollars and odd change, and tells you to have a blessed day, HOW DO YOU FEEL? 

Humbled and grateful. Thankful to God for his many blessings. It doesn’t matter that you had hundreds of dollars later that day, because at that moment, you had NOTHING.

What am I even blogging about? Well, have you ever heard the expression about charity beginning at home? Have you ever thought that your situation wouldn’t be so bad if just a small fraction of the people and organizations you’ve helped and given to would help you when you really needed it? 

I understand that when times get tough, the tough get going. They forgot to tell you that sometimes who or what you expected to be there for you will run and hide, pretend ignorance, have selective amnesia, and so on. Have you ever had someone say, “I know you said I don’t have to pay you back, but please keep track; so that I can pay you when I get back on my feet.”? In fact, he insists on it. Reluctantly, you keep track. He’s back on his feet, handing out money left and right, asks how much he owes you. You tell him, and he says, “Oh, I can’t pay that.” No problem, you told him in the beginning he didn’t have to. The issue is that his insistence that he would and then did not, shows a lot about his character or lack thereof. 

What am I blogging about? What people am I talking about? What organizations? If you think it’s you, you’re probably right. That’s something YOU need to deal with.

Have you ever asked for help, were denied that help, and then asked by that same entity to provide that help to them and others? What?! How convoluted is that?! You refused to help me. I watched you help others, and now you all want my help? 

I’m praying for you and for myself as I help you.

So, as you’re looking at me at the bottom of the hill with no bootstraps, no boots, no arms, no legs, just bear with me for a minute. I need a moment or two to get back up. No, I don’t need your help. I know who I am and Whose I am.  I have my inspiration. “It’s the God in Me,” “And Still I Rise,” “We Fall Down, but We Get Up.”

So, as I’m here, blogging from my iPhone app and  clearing out my tear ducts, in the back of my mind I hear Whoopi’s line from the Color Purple, “I’m here, Lord. I’m here.”

Thanks for reading. If you really want to help someone, help yourself first. If you’re determined to throw money away, use this link  Throw Money Away Constructively.

What Extraordinary Looks Like

So, I haven’t blogged in a while. We had a sneaux day in Louisiana today. (Yes, sneaux not snow.) I finally watched the BET Honors 2015. It made me think of the extraordinary in my life. LTW Inc of Northwest Louisiana has been officially in business since May 27, 2003. As our clientele has grown and changed, and as we have been making changes in other parts of our lives, we were contemplating whether or not to continue the business. Of course, we have some long-term clients with whom we will always work (; They are extraordinary. So, we have to keep growing, changing, and expanding LTW. Extraordinary has no limits.

As I’m establishing my career at Red River Chevy in Bossier City, and as I continue my AdvoCare business with my husband (, we will always have LTW Inc of Northwest Louisiana (

So, what does extraordinary look like?

It looks like this person.

DJC 2015 001 DJC 2015 002

Who is she? With numerous business accomplishments, memberships, and achievements, she is an experienced and skilled businesswoman with expertise in hotel management, food and beverage operations, vendor relations, profit and loss management, and guest services operations. She has a proven background in improving operational turnaround. She has been recognized as an outstanding manager and team player who generates significant growth in hotel revenue and effectively motivates personnel to provide superior customer service.  She has overseen property maintenance and appearances; monitored all operating costs, budgets, and forecasts including oversight, guidance, support, and accountability for hotels from a financial, ownership, associate, guest, and brand standpoint.

Do you need someone to apply analytical and quantitative skills to analyze and formulate business decisions in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry?

Do you need someone to apply leadership principles to manage in a diverse and global business environment?

Do you need someone to demonstrate the ability to define, identify, and evaluate ethical versus unethical business practices?

Do you need someone to demonstrate unique knowledge related to operating a Hospitality and Tourism business?

She’s here. Introducing Debbie Coleman, the newest member of LTW Inc of Northwest Louisiana. We are honored to have her as our Restaurant, Hotel, Institutional, and Tourism Management Consultant.

She is truly what extraordinary looks like.

Intra-ethnic Conflict in Burundi

Here’s another paper I wrote in undergrad:



Intra-ethnic Conflict in Burundi



An Essay by LaTasha T. Johnson



25 February 1998



Political Science 543 Honors



Ethnic Conflict



Professor Robert Melson






“Where ethnic hostility is reinforced by the exigencies of intraethnic party competition–and particularly by the vulnerability of ethnic parties to being accused of being too moderate–ethnic conflict is likely to take a nasty turn.”  (Rene Lemarchand quoting Donald Horowitz)


In Burundi, ethnic conflict abounds.  The climate is saturated with fear.  There is a constant struggle between the Tutsi elite and the Hutu mass.  The Tutsi minority dominates the state.  The conflicts are not only between the Tutsi and the Hutu but also within these groups.  Internal conflict is often as harsh and bloody as the main conflict.  In the case of the Tutsi, this internal conflict developed into desperate power struggles over control to state offices.  These tensions directly affected the relations between the Tutsi and the Hutu.  This essay briefly discusses the intra-Tutsi conflict first by describing the real and perceived Tutsi divisions.  Then, it states more specifically how this inner conflict led to a violent outbreak.  It also mentions the necessary condition of the state.  The condition of the state and intra-Tutsi conflict combined with other factors to lead to the occurrences of 1972 in Burundi.

In Burundi, social origins are assumed to define political allegiance.  More often than not this assumption becomes truth.  The intra-Tutsi conflict is ethno-regional.  The Tutsi are divided into sub-groups of people from regions, class strata, clans, lineages, and possibly more.  [See chart.*]  The basic divisions are one based on traditional sociocultural strata and the other on regional identifications.  The first division is between the Hima and the Banyaruguru.  The traditional view of the Hima is one of contempt; while, traditionally the Banyaruguru have connections to the monarchy.   The Banyaruguru and the Hima can be likened to an aristocracy and a peasantry.  While modern progress has virtually eliminated the material distinctions of these groups, the social distinctions are still there.  The second major division is between Bururi (a southern province) and Muramvya (a north-central province).  In Bururi, areas once controlled by Hutu chiefs were given to the Batare (Mwami Mwezi’s brothers and their supporters).  The Batare do not support the monarchy, because restoration of the monarchy would threaten their authority in the Bururi region.  Muramvya is the cradle of the old monarchy.  The Bezi [supporters of the Mwami (king)] are centralized here.  This is the area with the greatest amount of Hutu support for the monarchy.  Theoretically, a Hima from Bururi would detest a Banyaruguru from Muramvya.  Also, a Hima from Bururi would suspect that a Banyaruguru from Muramvya would be conciliatory to the Hutu in order to maintain support for the monarchy.  The Hima of Bururi are further divided into clans of Bayanzi and Mushingo.  Jean-Baptiste Bagaza was from the Bayanzi clan.  The Mushingo are divided into Michel Micombero’s supporters and Pierre Buyoya’s supporters.  These divisions are not always precise, but they are important in generalizing Tutsi political identities.

The Tutsi, using their ethno-regional identities as political affiliations, manipulated the Hutu.  They (the Tutsi) used them (the Hutu) as pawns in a powerful game of chess.  Tutsi leaders were concerned that if they were too conciliatory, they would lose power to supporters of a stronger leader.  In order to avoid being outbid, Tutsi leaders struggled to be the “strongest” by being brutal and cruel toward the Hutu through policy and practice.  The intra-Tutsi conflict can be likened to a sport where the participants must prove that they are the quintessential players.  A true Tutsi would never be lenient to Hutu.  It reminds me of inner-city gang life in the U. S.  Gang members must prove that they are “hard”.  The competitive Tutsi factions must prove to each other and themselves that they are the “hardest” where the Hutu are concerned.  It must be realized that while the Tutsi elites attempt to manipulate the Hutu and use them as pawns, the Hutu are not mindless pawns detached from reality.  In the same arena where this intra-Tutsi struggle is occurring, the Hutu are struggling for power as well.  The Hutu do not sit idly on the chess board waiting to be played.  Whatever the Tutsi view of the Hutu, the Hutu are not willing to be the gamepieces in an intra-Tutsi tournament.  The violence and fear perpetuated by the intra-Tutsi conflict foreshadowed the events of 1972.  Lemarchand suggests that we view the 1972 watershed as the unexpected result of competition among Tutsi elites for control of the state.  He notes that the state is not only a tool for group domination but also a venue for the dominate group to compete within itself for control.  This is exactly the case in Burundi.

Internal Tutsi tensions affected the relations between the Tutsi and the Hutu in Burundi in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  In the late 1960s, Bururi factions accused Muramvya factions of being too conciliatory to Hutu.  The Bururi factions operated with the basic assumption that Muramvya factions have monarchial sympathies.  Hutu support of the monarchy was most prominent in Muramvya.  The Bururi factions assumed that the Muramvya factions were “soft” on the Hutu in order to garner support to restore the monarchy.  They sought to crush the Hutu and the Muramvya in order to dominate the state.  Under the assumed threat of Hutu uprisings to restore the monarchy, leaders such as Artenon Simbananiye and Albert Shibura earned reputations as good “Hutu bashers”.  Both men were from Bururi, and Shibura  was Hima.  The Bururi factions effectively gained control of the state.  They were the new owners of the state offices.

Burundi had become a patrimonial state.  Offices in the state were perceived to be private property, particularly  the private property of certain Tutsi elites.  Segmentary Tutsi conflict led to the 1969 purges of Hutu in power.  In the army, both the officer corps and the troops were largely Hima-Tutsi from Bururi in origin.  The Bururi factions were suspicious of the monarch and his supporters.  Traditionally these supporters were Banyaruguru-Tutsi from Muramvya.  The next move for the Bururi faction was to attempt to eliminate Banyaruguru from the army and the government.  In early 1972, there were purges of Muramvya-Tutsi and remaining ganwa (people of royal lineage).  Trial proceedings publicized the tensions among Muramvya and Bururi factions and created a great fear throughout the country.  The resulting trials were a “parody of justice”.  They were an attempt by the Bururi factions to legitimize their control of the government.  Many people were outraged, both Tutsi and Hutu.  The purges led to a violent reaction by the Hutu:  the 1972 watershed.  While it is too simplistic to say that intra-Tutsi conflict resulted in the 1972 watershed, it can be said that Tutsi ethnocracy was a primary factor in the Hutu uprising.  The Hutu uprising was repressed with extreme violence and hostility by the Tutsi army.  Hutu were killed.  Tutsi objectionists were killed.  Hutu government supporters were killed.  Thousands of Hutu refugees fled to Tanzania.

In conclusion, the condition of the state as a patrimonial combined with the intra-Tutsi conflict directly contributed to the genocidal violence of 1972 in Burundi.  The determination of Bururi factions to maintain power and to crush the Muramvya and all possibilities of monarchial restoration, unfortunately, required the manipulation of the Hutu.  Thousands were sacrificed.  Each step of the Bururi ascent to power led to the culmination of fear and violence manifested in the 1972 Hutu uprising.  Intra-Tutsi conflict deepened Tutsi-Hutu divisions.  The divisions are so vast that the only way they will be eliminated is if the Tutsi or the Hutu are eliminated, leaving only the Tutsi or only the Hutu.

*The chart is in a format that I couldn’t update to share.

10 Years

Ten isn’t a large number. 10 years may seem like a lot of time, sometimes.



In 2014, we’re reflecting on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I was thinking to myself: In 1964, my mom was 10 years old. 10 years later, she was in her first marriage and having her second child. 10 years later, she was in her second marriage and having her fourth child. Wow, what a difference 10 years can make.

10 years – a decade.

As I reach my fourth decade of life, I reflect on my sets of 10 years. 10 years ago, 2004, I had been married for 6 years; our son was 3 years old, and late in the year I started working full-time again for someone other than myself or family. 10 years before that, 1994, I was in my sophomore year at Purdue, dealt with another tragic family death, postponed school, suffered an extended bout of homelessness (no worries, I had friends), and generally matured a lot. 10 years before that, 1984, I was a kid living in Zweibrucken, Germany, welcoming another fabulous sibling into my life, and falling deeper in love with Porsche. Yeah, 10 years.

my porsche


(Side note: 10 years from now I’ll be whipping around in a Porsche. As Porsche says, “Porsche doesn’t simply build sports cars. Porsche is more. Much more. And Porsche is different.” Porsche reminds me of myself.)

International Regulation of Hazardous and Toxic Waste: The Basel Convention and Others and Their Ineffectiveness

LaTasha T. Johnson

International Regulation of Hazardous and Toxic Waste:  The Basel Convention and Others and Their Ineffectiveness


Political Science 491 Honors, Senior Seminar in International Environmental Policy

Professor Robert V. Bartlett

Fall 1997















With the long extensive title of this paper, there are many directions it could take, many things it could encompass, and a number of things upon which it could focus. The scope of this paper, as it relates to international environmental policy, concerns  international disposal of hazardous and toxic waste.  It will encompass the trade and transport of hazardous and toxic waste, and it will focus on the environmental policy involved in international waste disposal, trade, and transport. An underlying theme throughout the paper will deal with the role international economic systems play in international environmental policy.   The paper will explore how sovereign states dispose of their hazardous wastes, where exactly this waste goes, and what are the, if there are any, international environmental policies which regulate this international activity.

International environmental policy and the international regulation of hazardous and toxic wastes affect many subject areas within international environmental policy including but not limited to United States foreign policy, the United Nations and international intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations, bio-diversity, sustainable development, and trade and economics. More specifically:  The foreign policy of the United States plays a role in determining to what extent Americans will be affected by the disposal of hazardous and toxic wastes other than those generated within the federal state.  Also the United States has generally been against bans on hazardous waste exportation because it is against intervention in sovereign matters.  A better reason would be because of the amount of hazardous waste that it exports.  The Clinton Administration reversed this policy in anticipation of environmental conventions focused on hazardous wastes.  The United Nations and international intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations all have a definite role in making and influencing international environmental policy in general.  The subject of international regulation of hazardous and toxic wastes is simply an aspect of international environmental policy.  Greenpeace was a decisive component in the transformation of the 1989 Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal in Basel, Switzerland, from a weak regime to a strong regime.  International non-governmental organizations were also (along with developing countries) influential in the regime concerning global trade in dangerous pesticides.

Further examples of relevance:  The disposal, trade, and transport of hazardous and toxic wastes has  negative effects on the bio-diversity of the earth, most of which we are unaware or upon which we may only speculate.  As for sustainable development, the by-products of development include hazardous and toxic materials which question sustainability.  Sustainable development, disposal, and trade and transport of hazardous and toxic wastes play a large role in trade and economics as it concerns international environmental policy.  For example the United States metal industry strongly opposed an international ban on hazardous waste trade while the chemical and waste management industries were in favor of it.  The United States Chamber of Commerce agreed with the metal industry.  This directly affected negotiations of the Basel Convention.  The United States exports a lot of scrap metals which are included in the category of hazardous waste.

International regulation of hazardous and toxic waste disposal is ineffective without economic considerations taken into account.  States which are desperate for international exchange and for a part in the international economy are more susceptible to accepting hazardous and toxic waste despite the environmental consequences.  The states which pay other states to bury their waste, the states which dump their waste into the oceans, the air, the biosphere, the universe, are in need of a regulation that not only controls the dispersion of hazardous and toxic waste but also serves if not to eliminate environmental problems then to greatly decrease the potential for widespread environmental damage.  With the rise of nuclear power there is the potential for greater disposal of low-level radioactive wastes into our oceans.

Question and Answer

With all of this in mind, many questions arise that demand an answer.  Six of them are briefly addressed here.  (1.)  Are there efforts to control production of waste?  Of course every entity which produces waste claims to use a production method which minimizes waste at least as far as it is technically capable.  (2.)  Who gets the waste and why?  Recipients of waste include states with a desperate need for funds, states that are former colonial holdings, states with little concern for the environment, and states who focus solely on economic gain.  Some would say that recipient states are being bullied into accepting waste from exporting.  Others would say that recipient states are starving for a part in the occidental wealth which dominates the world economy.  (3.)  What are the effects of this waste?  Hazardous and toxic waste has a profound effect on the environment which includes the destruction of parts of the ocean, human exposure to radioactive wastes, and a number of other things that we may not even realize.  (4.)  Where is the voice of the people? With the politicization of this issue, recipient states (particularly former colonies) are beginning to say that they will no longer accept waste.  Greenpeace and other international non-governmental organizations have always spoken out and even taken action against it.  Countries affected by the trade among France, Great Britain, and Japan have formed coalitions against transport of such materials, particularly in locations close to or within their sovereign jurisdiction.  (5.)  What kind of regulations are needed? Who will enforce them? Is the threat to the environment and the fate of humanity enough to be its own enforcer of international environmental policy concerning hazardous and toxic waste disposal?  Regulations are needed that not only control the dispersion of hazardous and toxic waste but also serve if not to eliminate environmental problems then to greatly decrease the potential for widespread environmental damage. The enforcers need to be the major producers of the waste.  Recipient states need to stop being recipient states.  Economic and trade sanctions are more realistic enforcers. One would think that the answer to this question is a simple yes.  Obviously, the question is more complex than that and if a simple answer must be given, it would have to be no based on current evidence.  The scientific evidence of the Basel Convention did not play a primary role.  (6.)  When will we see a change?  Soon, we hope, but in the real world, in reality, we do not know.  Perhaps the current conventions and innovations in technology will bring about rapid change in the near future.

The Basel Convention

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal of 1989 does something towards the regulation of hazardous and toxic waste trade.  It places conditions on the trade; it allows for agreements between signatory or non-signatory states which is in direct opposition to the earlier provision of signatory states not shipping hazardous waste to non-signatory states.  The Basel Convention is lacking in a number of ways.  It does not include a liability clause. The United States never ratified it.  Most African countries refused to sign it.  International non-governmental organizations were not allowed to participate in working groups.  Countries have had (and continue to have) actual plans for dumping waste.  For example, Japan has had plans in the past to dump radioactive wastes into the South Pacific.  The Basel Convention basically states that a state can not send hazardous waste to another state without informing the receiving state of the waste and without prior written consent of the receiving state.  Or in other words, the exporting state needs a permission slip from the importing state.  Initially, this was an excellent solution.  However, problems have arisen.  The countries which were receiving previously unregulated wastes enjoyed a great amount of income for their economies.  An article in The Economist reports on the attitude changes since the Convention (which went into force on May 5, 1992).  States are suffering from the lost revenue, and are wanting to change regulations so that they may regain some of this lost income.  Particularly, Asian states are interested in the scrap trade (of metals, old batteries, et cetera).  These nations use this “scrap” to extract raw materials at a cheaper cost that importing.  The ban on exporting hazardous wastes for disposal is already in place.  The ban for exporting hazardous wastes for recycling is not supposed to go into effect until the end of this year.

The Basel Convention was not a total waste; it shows that trade sanctions are a useful enforcement tool in international environmental policy.  It clearly shows that funds are needed to correct the havoc already wreaked.  It is not clear on clean-up costs, or on who should be responsible for such costs–the recipient state, the exporting state, or the international community.  It generally is a move to disallow areas to be contaminated with toxic wastes by putting conditions on where the waste may go.  The Basel Convention regime has strengthened since its naissance; developing countries are uniting against the major exporters of waste.  States are also being influenced by their former colonies.  Overall, the Basel Convention is a positive, even significant step towards the international regulation of hazardous and toxic waste disposal, trade, and transport.

Agenda 21 and Organizational Structures

Agenda 21 is from the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  It focuses on  global sustainable development.  The implementation of Agenda 21, in states, agencies, and organizations, particularly the United Nations, has a number of obstacles.  Henry (1996) discusses this in detail.  Many reforms are needed before implementation is possible.  One of the major problems is that the United Nations’ agencies which focus on development and those that focus on environment often clash.  This is the case in numerous instances within, between, and among United Nations agencies as well as states.  Agenda 21 is supposed to be integrated into current systems of “economic, social, and environmental activities.”  The biggest obstacle to this integration is that organizational restructuring, a revamping of the current systems, must occur.

Structural reforms are difficult at best, and impossible at worst.  Structural revolution would be the solution I would propose.  However, the parties involved are opposed to change.  Henry goes on to discuss the debate over whether or not reforms are enough to integrate Agenda 21 into the United Nations.  Obstacles arise at every turn.  There are financing problems with Agenda 21 activities.  There are administrative dilemmas.  There is the “red tape” which is an inherent part of any bureaucratic system.  There are debates over agency autonomy.  The list continues.  Henry concludes his discussion of the United Nations implementation of Agenda 21 by saying that the United Nations must engage in structural reform despite the obstacles in order for it to begin Agenda 21 implementation on a global scale.

Structural  organizational problems are not exclusively limited to the United Nations.  Many states suffer from the same dilemma.  Weale and others (1996) discuss the same problem in six states. [Specifically, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom, all are members of the European Union.]  They argue that administrative reorganization must be considered in relation to environmental policy.  They also argue that organization is key to “policy output”.  One of the biggest obstacles noted is that old bureaucratic agencies have always dealt with certain environmental issues.  The Waste Management Department, for example, has generally dealt with waste management.  The problem arises, however, when new issues arise which may require the development of new agencies.  An agency that has previously dealt with human waste may not be equipped to handle other types of waste problems.  Expanding existing agencies is not always a viable solution.  Weale and the others conclude by reasserting the argument that organizational structure is a determining factor in environmental policy “output”.

Lester and others (1983) foreshadowed these structural problems in their discussion of responses to hazardous waste issues in the form of policy formation in the United States.  They discuss theoretical consideration involved in policy formation and formation methods.  They then give a detailed analysis and discuss the implications.  The main idea is that policy formation will depend on factors which include the amount of waste involved, the people and environment it affects, the actual effects and so on.  In attempting to reach answers and solutions to the dilemmas and problems surrounding the transboundary movement of hazardous waste, more dilemmas and problems arise.  This is not exclusive to organizational structure of states, agencies, and organizations.  The problem is truly global.


International environmental policy concerning hazardous and toxic wastes may sound vague and unrelated without specific examples of issues, events, and occurrences to support all of the rhetoric.

On 1 September of this year, Greenpeace filed a charge with the European commission.  It accused France of violating European and international environmental law.  The French nuclear company COGEMA conducted an operation to remove nuclear material from inside its discharge pipes.  Greenpeace asserts that COGEMA proceeded with this operation without an Environmental Impact Assessment.  Greenpeace’s argument is that such an operation requires this assessment under French and European law.  This report is an example of an attempt at enforcing international environmental law and policy concerning hazardous and toxic waste.

Greenpeace’s actions are a direct threat to the sovereignty of France.  COGEMA is a state-owned company within the state, and non-state intervention of state affairs has always been, is, and will always be an issue of great debate. However, in the COGEMA case as well as in the following case, many other factors are involved.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain, France, and Japan have been involved in the transportation of nuclear waste (plutonium) for a number of years now.  The goal is for a specific amount of nuclear waste from Britain and France to be transported to Japan by the year 2010; Japan, in turn, ships irradiated nuclear fuel from its reactors to reprocessing factories in France and Britain.  As noted earlier, the ban against exporting hazardous wastes for recycling is not supposed to go into effect until the end of this year (1997).  However, several news reports say that when this waste reaches Japan, it is disposed.   A 1994 Greenpeace press release discusses the potential hazard of these transports.  At the time British, French, and Japanese officials refused any environmental assessments or analyses, and the route of transport was undisclosed.  A British vessel carried nuclear waste (and weapons-usable plutonium) from the French port of Cherbourg (near the La Hague plutonium reprocessing factory) to the Japanese port of Mutsu-Ogawara.  At the time the three confirmed possible transport routes were:  “[1] through the Caribbean Sea and the Panama Canal, [2] around southern Africa and either through the Straits of Malacca and through the South China Sea or around Australia and up through the Tasman Sea and islands of the South Pacific, or [3] around Latin America/Cape Horn and across the Pacific.”  []  A Greenpeace news release at the end of 1996 revealed that the transport routes were still undisclosed.  A shipment in April of 1995 took the third route, around South America and across the Pacific.

What is the significance of all of this disposal, trade, and transport of nuclear material (hazardous and toxic waste)?  The transport routes alone are an issue of great importance to the global environment.  There is the potential there to leave a trail of waste around the world affecting all life not simply human life.  Uimonen (1992) discusses the link between trade and environmental policies.  He states that the basic economic principles of supply and demand and cost and efficiency  impact environmental policy.  Pollution taxes are given as an example of revenue from waste.  Uimonen points that domestic environmental regulations are often trade barriers.  This is a good thing in regard to hazardous and toxic wastes.  However, the competitive nature of the economic system allows for a search for states with fewer regulation with which to do business.  On the other hand, in article in The Economist (January 8, 1994) briefly discusses the benefits the  waste management industry receives from increased state regulations on environmental issues.  The more regulations in place, the more efforts are needed to meet these regulations, and the waste management industry makes more money.

Any number of factors must be taken into account when attempting to regulate this trilateral exchange.  France, Great Britain, and Japan are major players in the world economy.  The routes consist mostly of areas included in the sovereign holdings of these states, open sea, or areas under the influence of these states.  There is also the potential for states which control significant areas (such as the Panama Canal) to allow these shipments to pass uninhibited and un-inspected.  Inspection of a vessel could be interpreted as a threat to sovereignty which brings us back to the major dilemma in the international arena. The trade among Britain, France, and Japan could be viewed as three sovereign entities engaging in free enterprise and outside international intervention is unnecessary.  Despite all of these factors, the issue is not destitute.

There is hope for regulating international trade of hazardous and toxic wastes; there is even the potential to effectively destroy such waste. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has a Nuclear Energy Agency to develop standardized management practices for nuclear wastes.  With the advancement of technology, there are other examples as well.

ELI Eco Logic International Inc. claim to have developed a technology which safely destroys hazardous waste without incineration.  It specifically targets poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, dioxins/furans, coal-tars, and chemical warfare agents.  The corporation details its successes in the past, its current operations, and its future innovations.  In 1991, at Hamilton Harbour, Ontario, the company had positive test results in processing coal-tar contaminated harbour sediment and PCBs.  In 1992, at Bay City, Michigan, it had positive results in processing PCBs in aqueous, organic, and soil matrices.  Currently, Eco Logic, Inc. has two of its seemingly miraculous units (commercial scale SE25 ELI Destructors) in use.  One is in Kwinana, Western Australia and the other is at a General Motors of Canada Ltd. facility in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.  Eco Logic, Inc. also has “field-scale treatability studies”; it specifically mentions three, one in New Bedford Harbour, another with the United States Department of Energy (dealing with low level radioactive mixed wastes and complex hazardous wastes), and the other in Warren, North Carolina.  A list of Eco Logic, Inc.’s future innovations include expansion of current operations and also operations with General Electric Canada, Inc., Toronto Hydro (Canada), Tokyo Boeki/Nippon Sharyo (Japan), U.S. Army Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program [including “disposal of distilled sulphur mustard (HD) and nerve agent (VX) stored in . . . Aberdeen, Maryland and at the Army Ammunition Plant at Newport, Indiana.”], and operations with the U. S. Naval Air Station, Patuxent, Maryland.  []

These technological innovations are wonderful, but it brings us again to the issue of economics.  The very countries which have engaged in this new technology are the very ones which export their hazardous and toxic wastes.  The recipient countries are still left with the trash, waste, “excrement” of the sovereign bodies of the exporting states, and the recipient states do not have the funds, the technology, or even sometimes the desire to do anything other than to simply dump the waste that it has received.  One wonders if there is any real environmental concern about the disposal, trade, and transport of hazardous and toxic waste on a state level as well as on civic levels.  All of this serves to create further thought and reflection upon the entire discourse of the issue.


Wapner (1994) discusses state sovereignty as an obstacle to cooperation in environmental policy making. State cooperation is essential to this policy making.  He briefly suggests convergence of national and international interests as one possible solution to this obstacle.  Payne (1996) also discusses the need for cooperation as it relates to the environment.  He proposes that “deliberative mechanisms” be created to achieve global cooperation.  He suggests that these “deliberative mechanisms” be developed by changing self-interests into general interests.  I am not sure how this transformation of interest is to take place.  However, the main idea is that measures must be taken to put the environment on the top of everyone’s priority lists by any means necessary.  Schwarz (1994) discusses new waste management agencies, companies and other developments.  The fundamental flaw is that these new waste management projects lack  cooperation and enforcement; so, they do not really help.  There are specific obstacles to multinational or international waste management companies.  The most significant one is national regulations which hinder foreign companies from operating in certain areas.  Public involvement is important in influencing domestic policies concerning environmental issues.  Schwarz notes that the final obstacle to waste management companies are costs.  The bottom line is money, more specifically, hard cash.

Murphy (1994) brings up the issue of liability in the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes.  The question of liability is, perhaps, the question which underlies the set of questions presented earlier.  In Murphy’s assessment of the situation, he states that the next step is a “liability regime to deter mismanagement of hazardous wastes both during and after their transboundary movement, and to provide compensation for adverse effects they may have on human health and the environment.”  [Murphy goes much further to propose prospective regimes, to give elements for a successful regime, and so on.  I only deal with the idea of his general assessment.]  I totally agree with this assessment.  However, this problem is not without its dimensions.  Murphy discusses these dimensions, which include definitions, data, and regulations.  The biggest problem with definition is that there is no standard global definition of hazardous wastes accepted by all states.  Simply put, different states have different definitions.  What may be hazardous in the United States may not be hazardous elsewhere and vice versa.  One effect of varying definitions of hazardous wastes on data is that the “hazardous” waste may have been only recently regulated.  As a result, information is sketchy or non-existent on certain materials.  The process of collecting information may be flawed as well.  Information may be withheld or omitted in the process of reporting destination and quantity concerning transport of hazardous wastes.  Obviously, varying definitions, and sketchy data are not effective tools in the regulation of transboundary movement of this waste.  An all out ban on hazardous wastes is ineffective if the waste being moved is in fact hazardous but not defined as so.

Consequences or Coincidences

“Thousands of tonnes of illegally dumped hazardous waste exploded at Bangkok’s            Klong Toey port in 1991, killing 10 people and spreading a toxic cloud over the             city.  Tens of thousands of people suffered serious health problems afterwards.”            (Schwarz, 1994)

Does anyone really care?  By “anyone” I mean everyday people.  I will never forget one day there was a news byte about this woman who had given birth to Siamese twins that shared a body.  At the end of the few seconds of coverage the reporter said that two other women had also given birth to Siamese twins that shared a body, in the same hospital, within that same year.  The infants did not survive.  I am thinking to myself, that means that within one year, three women, in the same hospital, have given birth to two-headed babies.  I am not a statistics or genetics expert, but that seems extremely unlikely without some outside influence such as hazardous or toxic waste or some other by-product of modern civilization.  Other issues begin to surface as the discourse of hazardous and toxic waste continues.

If regulations are put into place and enforced, how many generations will it be before a significant effect is readily apparent?




Class Materials

Caldwell, Lynton K.  International Environmental Policy, 3rd ed.  Durham, N.C.:  Duke   University Press, 1996

Porter, Gareth and Janet Welsh Brown.  Global Environmental Politics, 2nd ed.  Boulder,             Co.:  Westview Press, 1996

Susskind, Lawrence E.  Environmental Diplomacy:  Negotiating More Effective Global    Agreements.  Albany:  State University of New York Press, 1996


Barnett, Harold C.  TOXIC DEBTS and the Superfund Dilemma.  Chapel Hill:  The         University of North Carolina Press, 1994

Hird, John A.  SUPERFUND:  The Political Economy of Environmental Risk.  Baltimore:            The John Hopkins University Press, 1994

Rabe, Barry G.  Beyond NIMBY:  Hazardous Waste Siting in Canada and the United      States.  Washington, D.C.:  The Brookings Institute, 1994


http.// (Basel Convention Homepage, maintained by

Scholarly Journal Articles

Copeland, Brian R.  “International Trade in Waste Products in the Presence of Illegal        Disposal,” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Vol. 20, March       1991, pp. 143-162

Henry, Reg.  “Adapting United Nations Agencies for Agenda 21:  Programme Coordination        and Organisational Reform,” Environmental Politics, Vol. 5, No. 1, Spring 1996,          pp. 1-24

Motta, Massimo and Jacques-FranÁois Thisse.  “Does Environmental Dumping Lead to    Delocation?”  European Economic Review, Vol. 38, April 1994, pp. 563-576

“Muck and Morals,” The Economist, Vol. 336, September 2, 1995, p. 61

Murphy, Sean D.  “Prospective Liability Regimes for the Transboundary Movement of      Hazardous Wastes,” American Journal of International Law, Vol. 88, January      1994, pp. 24-75

Lester, James P., James L. Franke, Ann O’M. Bowman, and Kenneth W. Kramer.              “Hazardous Wastes, Politics, and Public Policy:  A Comparative State Analysis,”            The Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 36, June 1983, pp. 257-285

Payne, Rodger A.  “Deliberating Global Environmental Politics,” Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 33, No. 2, May 1996, pp. 129-136

“Regulate Us, Please,” The Economist, Vol. 330, January 8, 1994, p. 69

Schwarz, Adam.  “Everybody’s Business:  Asia has plenty of waste, but profiting from it is tough.”  Far Eastern Economic Review, Vol. 157, November 24, 1994, pp.         136, 138, 140

Uimonen, Peter.  “Trade Policies and the Environment:  How do current trading rules        affect environmental policy issues?”  Finance and Development, vol. 29, June       1992, pp. 26-27

Von Moltke, Konrad.  “The United Nations Development System and Environmental       Management,” World Development, Vol. 20, No. 4, April 1992, pp. 619-626

Wapner, Paul.  “International Cooperation and global Environmental Challenges,” Politics             and the Life Sciences, Vol. 13, February 1994, pp. 31-32

Weale, Albert, Geoffrey Pridham, Andrea Williams, and Martin Porter.  “Environmental   Administration in Six European States:  Secular Convergence or National        Distinctiveness,” Public Administration, Vol. 74, Summer 1996, pp. 255-274