Major Plastic Waste Producers Must Get Consent Before Exporting their Toxic Trash to Global South
Friday, 10 May 2019
Geneva, Switzerland — Today, 187 countries took a major step forward in curbing the plastic waste crisis by adding plastic to the Basel Convention, a treaty that controls the movement of hazardous waste from one country to another. The amendments require exporters to obtain the consent of receiving countries before shipping most contaminated, mixed, or unrecyclable plastic waste, providing an important tool for countries in the Global South to stop the dumping of unwanted plastic waste into their country.
After China banned imports of most plastic waste in 2018, developing countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, have received a huge influx of contaminated and mixed plastic wastes that are difficult or even impossible to recycle. Norway's proposed amendments to the Basel Convention provides countries the right to refuse unwanted or unmanageable plastic waste.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have received significant public and media attention in the US, EU, and Australia, in part due to their toxicity, extreme persistence, and documented water pollution. However, information about PFAS in other parts of the world is largely lacking and the information which is available is difficult to access.
Over the past few months, IPEN Participating Organizations in twelve Middle Eastern and Asian countries conducted surveys to explore possible PFAS uses and pollution sources, scientific studies and government actions, including under the Stockholm Convention. Countries covered include: Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.
This SDG Knowledge Weekly spotlights recent findings and platforms on SDG 14 (life below water). The brief also reviews a few items on decarbonization towards SDG 13 (climate action), which researchers note plays a key role in ocean-related challenges.
Life on earth is utterly dependent on healthy oceans. They produce much of the oxygen we breathe, cycle the carbon dioxide, and regulate the weather we experience. Perhaps it is the vastness of the oceans that has made us complacent about its capacity to keep absorbing our toxic wastes?
After a year of global ocean meetings, the international community is finally facing up to the reality of polluted, depleted oceans.
Policies to protect the marine environment that do not address the finite nature of our world will fail.
(Bali, Indonesia): The comprehensive report, Ocean Pollutants Guide: Toxic Threats to Human and Marine Life, recently released by IPEN and the National Toxics Network (NTN), provides an up-to-date synthesis of data on toxic chemical ocean pollution, including hazardous pesticides, pharmaceuticals, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) like PCBs, plastics, microplastics, and heavy metals, and exposes their sweeping impacts on marine and human life. A valuable resource for policy makers, the report bridges information gaps between ocean health and chemical safety, and highlights critical policy opportunities for action by bringing simultaneous visibility to the role of invisible toxic chemicals and plastics.
Ocean health is essential for our survival. Yet every day, a toxic cocktail of intentional and unintentional chemical releases, along with a relentless tidal wave of wastes, particularly plastic waste, enters our waterways and the marine environment. This dual and intertwined threat of invisible toxic chemicals, microplastics, and visible plastic debris profoundly endangers human health, marine life and the environment.