No more hazardous waste export to developing nations

From December 5th, 2019, a new Article in the Basel Convention will become law. Croatia’s deposit of ratification of the 1995 Basel Ban Amendment on the 6th of September will now see the dumping of hazardous waste from member states of the EU, OECD and Liechtenstein prohibited. A total of 97 countries have now ratified the ban and most importantly the required ¾ of the parties that were present and voting in 1995. The new agreement will enter into force for the 97 countries in 90 days’ time, it has been hailed as a landmark agreement for global environmental justice.

Some of the countries and organisations that helped form the Basel Ban Amendment include Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Denmark, Switzerland, Greenpeace and the Basel Action Network (BAN).

Jim Puckett, director of BAN said: "The most important idea ever conceived to promote environmental justice at the global level is now law,"

"We applaud Croatia and all of the 97 countries that have ratified the agreement to date and hope that all others will now do so at the earliest opportunity."

However, many developed nations are absent from the list of those ratifying the ban, such as the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, India, Russia, Brazil and Mexico. The US has actively opposed the ban amendment. According to BAN, the lack of compliance by the US in international waste trade rules has led to unethical US recyclers exporting hundreds of containers of hazardous e-waste per week to developing countries for 'recycling'. This archaic 'recycling' practice involves the burning, melting and chemical stripping of e-waste by untrained workers in extremely polluted conditions, posing a serious threat to people’s health and the environment.

Another serious concern is the prolific number of shipping companies sending their old ships to be run up on beaches in South Asia, the ships are full of lead, hazardous asbestos, PCBs, flammable gases and oils, they create pollution, occupational disease and deaths have been linked to fires and explosions.

"There can be no excuse for using the developing world as the dumping ground for the toxic effluent of the affluent," said Puckett. "With the Ban Amendment now a legal certainty, we hope the countries that have to date refused to ratify will do so and close the sad chapter of toxic colonialism done in the name of recycling."  

Courtesy of the Recycling Forum

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