Toxic Waste Data from Basel Convention - Data Quality and Preparation Issues for Density Design

JULY 9, 2017


Toxic waste routes is a joint project between Densitydesign Lab and Guia Baggi, aimed at enhancing transparency on toxic wastes movements across the world. The current tool is a first prototype based on Basel Convention annual reports, and the visualization reflects data features: inconsistencies and missing reports are often the norm, and there is a clear need for a better data transparency on the topic.

The data provided by the Secretariat of the Basel Convention were partial and inconsistently formatted due to lack of rigor by submitting countries. Furthermore, the Convention’s website collects an archive of all the reports submitted in the past, but the structure of the archive has changed during the years, making it difficult to easily get what we needed. The complete dataset was gathered by italian journalist Guia Baggi and later cleaned and merged with additional data (countries informations, geo coordinates, etc…) to make it accessible to work with. In the end we focused on the type and the amount of hazardous waste traded, since they were the core of the dataset as well as the most consistent data throughout the corpus.