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May

18

2019

    SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

    Basel Convention

    News: India sets the tone at COP meetings of Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions held in Geneva.
    Source: PIB

    The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, usually known as the Basel Convention, is an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries (LDCs).

    It does not, however, address the movement of radioactive waste. The Convention is also intended to minimize the amount and toxicity of wastes generated, to ensure their environmentally sound management as closely as possible to the source of generation, and to assist LDCs in environmentally sound management of the hazardous and other wastes they generate.

    The Convention was opened for signature on 22 March 1989, and entered into force on 5 May 1992. As of October 2018, 186 states and the European Union are parties to the Convention. Haiti and the United States have signed the Convention but not ratified it.

    In Basel Convention, two important issues were discussed and decided, i.e. technical guidelines on e-waste and inclusion of plastic waste in the PIC procedure. The draft technical guidelines stipulated the conditions when used electrical and electronic equipment destined for direct reuse, repair, refurbishment or failure analysis should be considered as non-waste.

    India had major reservations regarding these provisions as in the name of re-use, repair, refurbishment and failure analysis there was a possibility of dumping from the developed world to the developing countries including India in view of the growing consumption of electronic equipment and waste across the world.

    The Indian delegation strongly objected the proposed decision on these guidelines during plenary and did not allow it to be passed by the conference of the parties (COP).

    Many rounds of multilateral and bilateral negotiations happened under the aegis of the Convention Secretariat in order to address India’s concerns which were supported by a large number of other developing countries. On the final day of the COP, a modified decision was adopted in which all the concerns raised by India were incorporated.