The COVID-19 pandemic has already had negative effects on waste management, significantly contributing to increases in medical waste and household waste, and a substantial slowdown in recycling efforts. This upsurge in hazardous waste particularly endangers developing countries that are destinations for waste exports via the global waste trade.
While governments of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have individually taken action to address incidents of illegal waste shipments from affluent and more developed countries, the 10-member bloc has yet to unify and boost up efforts to protect the region from the drawbacks and hazards of the global waste trade.
Published by the environmental health and justice group EcoWaste Coalition with the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), the report finds the current legal and policy responses inadequate to stop the entry of illegal waste, and more importantly, insufficient to protect the health of both people and the environment.
Dhaka, Bangladesh - Hazardous plastic waste is a global threat, but smaller countries face increasing pressure to accept waste from large waste producers, such as the European Union and the United States. In Bangladesh, a recent event brought together journalists and experts seeking to halt illegal trade in waste. Organizations are working to urge the government to ratify the Basel Convention Ban Amendment to protect Bangladesh from hazardous plastic waste.
"Bangladesh is a signatory to Basel Convention but it did not sign the Basel Ban Amendment that deals particularly with wastes and hazardous wastes management and its transboundary movement. It is high time to adopt the ban amendments to tackle this toxic situation," said Dr Shahriar Hossain, secretary general of the Environment and Social Development Organisation (ESDO), which recently released a study "Transboundary Movement of Plastic Waste: Situation of Bangladesh". The event was co-sponsored by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA).
In line with the UNEP-IPEN partnership, the aim of this report is to show the impact chemicals have on women as a vulnerable group highly exposed to hazardous chemicals and gender inequalities related to decision-making around the management of chemicals and waste. The report also means to provide concrete steps that can be taken to safeguard the health of women and empower women in decision-making and in their roles as agents of change.
Environmental groups are accusing the Trudeau government of acting in bad faith after it quietly signed a bilateral agreement with the U.S. that could allow it to evade some of its obligations to stop shipping plastic waste to poor countries around the world.