Basel Ban Amendment
19th Sep, 2019
Croatia became the 97th country to ratify the ban, which was adopted by the parties to the Basel Convention in 1995.
- Croatia became the 97thcountry to ratify the ban, which was adopted by the parties to the Basel Convention in 1995, to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes. With Croatia’s ratification, a necessary ¾ of the parties to the Basel Convention have ratified the agreement and has become an international law after Croatia ratified it on September 6, 2019.
- The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary 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.
- It does not address the movement of radioactive waste.
- To implement and restrict the trade of hazardous waste between more developed countries and less developed countries an organization is formed which is known as Basel Action Network (BAN)
The provisions of the Convention center around the following principal aims:
- The reduction of hazardous waste generation and the promotion of environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes, wherever the place of disposal.
- The restriction of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes except where it is perceived to be in accordance with the principles of environmentally sound management.
- A regulatory system applying to cases where transboundary movements are permissible.
About Basel Action Network (BAN):
- Founded in 1997, the Basel Action Network is a charitable organization of the United States, based in Seattle.
- BAN is the world's only organization focused on confronting the global environmental justice and economic inefficiency of toxic trade and its devastating impacts.
- Today, BAN serves as the information clearinghouse on the subject of waste trade for journalists, academics, and the general public. Through its investigations, BAN uncovered the tragedy of hazardous electronic waste dumping in developing countries.
- Hazardous waste:
- A waste falls under the scope of the Convention if it is within the category of wastes listed in Annex I of the Convention and it exhibits one of the hazardous characteristics contained in Annex III.
- It must both be listed and possess a characteristic such as being explosive, flammable, toxic, or corrosive.
- 14th Conference of the Parties (COP14) of the Basel Convention adopted a resolution which is legally binding which restricted plastic scrap exports by requiring countries to obtain prior informed consent before exporting contaminated or mixed plastic scrap
- The other way that a waste may fall under the scope of the Convention is if it is defined as or considered to be a hazardous waste under the laws of either the exporting country, the importing country, or any of the countries of transit
- Transboundary movement:
It means any movement of hazardous wastes or other wastes from an area under the national jurisdiction of one State to or through an area under the national jurisdiction of another State or to or through an area not under the national jurisdiction of any State, provided at least two States are involved in the movement.
The Basel Convention BAN Amendment:
- The Ban Amendment was originally adopted as a decision of the second meeting of the Conference of the Parties in March 1994.
- The “Ban Amendment” provides for the prohibition by Parties listed in Annex VII (members of OECD, EU, Liechtenstein) of all transboundary movements of hazardous wastes including electronic wastes and obsolete ships which are destined for final disposal operations from OECD to non-OECD States.
- According to amendment, it was agreed that such “Annex VII Parties” prohibit and phase out all transboundary movements of hazardous wastes destined for recovery or recycling operations from OECD to non-OECD States by 31 December 1997.
- At COP-3 in 1995, Parties adopted the same as a further amendment to the Convention known as the “Ban Amendment”.
- The Ban Amendment had been stalled for all these years till now due to uncertainty over how to interpret the Convention.
Ratification status of other major countries:
- According to BAN the United States, the world's most wasteful country per-capita, has not ratified the Basel Convention, nor the Ban Amendment
- Other developed countries like Canada, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, likewise, have e-waste export problems and they too have so far refused to ratify the Ban Amendment.
- South Korea, Russia, India, Brazil, and Mexico are yet to ratify the ban.