NAM supports Basel Convention on the Control of Trans boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal

Non-Aligned Movement has regularly expressed its concerns over the environmental issues that adversely affect the international community and the developing world in particular. One such issue is the trans- boundary movement of hazardous wastes. International, regional, and national rules and laws have been drafted, amended, and adopted on the issue of trans-boundary movement of hazardous waste. The priority has been placed on waste minimization and waste disposal at source. NAM has called for States to act in accordance with the Basel Convention on the Control of Trans- boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.

The Basel Convention on the Control of Trans- boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was adopted on 22 March 1989 by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Basel, Switzerland, in response to a public outcry following the discovery, in the 1980s, in Africa and other parts of the developing world of deposits of toxic wastes imported from abroad. The overarching objective of the Basel Convention is to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes. Its scope of application covers a wide range of wastes defined as “hazardous wastes” based on their origin and/or composition and their characteristics, as well as two types of wastes defined as “other wastes” – household waste and incinerator ash.

The provisions of the Convention centre around the following principal aims: 1) the reduction of hazardous waste generation and the promotion of environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes, wherever the place of disposal; 2) the restriction of trans boundary movements of hazardous wastes except where it is perceived to be in accordance with the principles of environmentally sound management; and 3) a regulatory system applying to cases where trans boundary movements are permissible. The key discussion in Basel Convention is environmentally sound management. Environmentally sound management was adopted in 1994. The environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes has placed responsibilities on the operator of the facility that must be practiced to comply with the local regulation. On the other hand, the environmentally sound management is aim to harmonize the need to comply the regulation and the technology that available to treat the waste at the reasonable cost. On top of that, environmentally sound management also set the hierarchy of waste management, which first emphasized the waste avoidance or waste minimization then recovery, reuse, recycling and finally disposal.

NAM Member States have been taking steps for the effective management of hazardous wastes and meeting the obligations of the Basel Agreement. India ratified the Basel convention on 24 June 1992. India has been taking measures for the effective management of hazardous wastes and thereby meeting the obligations of the Basel Convention. The Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Trans boundary Movement) Rules, 2016 was notified to ensure the safe handling, processing, treatment, storage, collection, transportation, collection, and disposal of hazardous waste. Another NAM Member State Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Basel Convention. The transit and movement of hazardous substances and hazardous waste into and through Zimbabwe is governed by the Environmental Management Act.

Malaysia became a party to the Basel Convention in October 1993. To control the illegal trans boundary movement of hazardous waste on the local level, Malaysia has set up stringent act which state that under the Section 34(B), Environmental Quality Act 1974. As per the legislation in Malaysia, No person shall: a) Place, deposit or dispose of, or cause or permit to place, deposit or dispose of, except at prescribed premises only, any scheduled wastes on land or into Malaysian waters; b) Receives or send, or cause or permit to be received or sent any scheduled wastes in or out of Malaysia; or c) Transit or cause or permit the transit of scheduled wastes. From the above examples, it can be seen that NAM Member States are committed towards the management of hazardous wastes and the protection of environment.

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