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IPEN

A Toxics-Free Future

Basel Convention

UN meeting gives countries the right to refuse unrecyclable, polluting plastics

(Geneva, Switzerland): Governments at the 14th Conference of the Parties (COP14) of the Basel Convention acted to restrict rampant plastic waste exports by requiring countries to obtain prior informed consent before exporting contaminated or mixed plastic waste. A deluge of plastic waste exports from developed countries has polluted developing countries in Southeast Asia after China closed the door to waste imports in 2018.

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In the run-up to the Basel Convention's 14th Conference of the Parties (COP14), IPEN worked with Basel Action Network (BAN) to complete a "Quick Views" document that addresses some issues that will be discussed at tthe COP14. These include marine litter and microplastics; financial resources; compliance; e-waste guidelines; POPs waste; technical guidelines on incineration, engineered landfill, hazardous waste physico-chemical treatment and biological treatment; and more.

The Views document can be read here and on IPEN's page for the Stockholm Convention's COP9, which has additional information about IPEN activities and publications related to the Basel and Rotterdam conferences.

IPEN and BAN call for stronger controls in upcoming Conference to the Parties of the Basel and Stockholm Conventions

(Göteborg, Sweden): New research from IPEN and Basel Action Network (BAN) reveals dire human exposures and food chain contamination from highly toxic plastics in waste in Ghana that includes toxic e-waste shipped from Europe. Researchers have found the highest levels of brominated and chlorinated dioxins— some of the most hazardous chemicals on Earth— ever measured­­­­ in free-range chicken eggs in Agbogbloshie, Ghana. The contamination results primarily from the breaking apart of discarded electronics (e-waste) and burning plastics to recover metals. Plastics from vehicle upholstery are also burned on the site and contribute to the contamination.

Researchers analyzed the eggs of free-range chickens that forage in the Agbogbloshie slum, home to an estimated 80,000 people who subsist primarily by retrieving and selling copper cable and other metals from e-waste. The process of smashing and burning the plastic casing and cables, to extract the metals, releases dangerous chemicals found within the plastics, such as brominated flame retardants, and creates highly toxic by-product chemicals like brominated and chlorinated dioxins and furans. The sampling of eggs revealed alarmingly high levels of some of the most hazardous and banned chemicals in the world, including dioxins, brominated dioxins, PCBs, PBDE and SCCPs.

A recent legal opinion from the Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation Law Corporation has determined Canada’s refusal to repatriate 103 shipping containers of garbage illegally dumped in the Philippines in 2013 and 2014 to be in violation of the Basel Convention.

Read the letter and legal opinion that has been sent by IPEN and partner NGOs Right On Canada, Canadian Environmental Law Association, EcoWaste Coalition, and Basel Action Network to Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau about this issue, which is not just a legal matter, but also a moral issue that demonstrates Canada’s level of respect for the citizens of developing countries and how the nation demonstrates proper conduct. Leaving Canada’s garbage in another country for five years reveals values that clash with moral responsibility.

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