Highly toxic wiring and computer waste shipped from the United States is seriously damaging China's environment and mainlanders' health, according to an international report. The report, Exporting Harm: The High-Tech Trashing of Asia, estimates that up to 80 per cent of all electronic waste originating from the US is exported to Asia. This is estimated to be about 100 million waste computer parts. China is the main destination followed by India and Pakistan. The report was written by the US-based Basel Action Network and Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, Toxics Link India, Greenpeace China and the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment in Pakistan, who focused their investigation on an electronic waste recycling centre in the Guiyu region of Guangdong near the Lian River. They found serious environmental and health damage. Investigators witnessed men, women and children involved in the hazardous practice of burning plastics, wire and soldered circuit boards in the open and cracking and dumping toxic lead-laden cathode-ray tubes. The waste was being dumped along rivers, in open fields and irrigation canals in rice, making local water undrinkable. Water now has to be trucked in from 30km away. While it blamed the conditions partly on China's lax environmental laws, the report placed its chief responsibility on the United States. 'They call this recycling, but it's really dumping by another name. 'Yet to our horror, we further discovered that rather than banning it, the United States Government is actually encouraging this ugly trade to avoid finding real solutions to the massive tide of obsolete computer waste generated in the US daily,' Jim Puckett, the report co-ordinator, said. The report said the US was the only developed country in the world that had failed to ratify the Basle Convention, a United Nations environmental treaty which has adopted a global ban on the export of hazardous wastes from the world's most developed countries to developing ones. The US had actually exempted toxic electronic waste from its own laws governing exports because the material was claimed to be destined for recycling. The US-based National Science Foundation estimated that between 1997 and 2004, the US would generate more than 315 million obsolete computer parts. The problem is growing and the report urged the US to implement an immediate global ban on the export of hazardous wastes and mandate the electronics industry to institute take-back recycling programmes and phase out the use of toxic substances in the equipment.