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A new UN accord signed to include plastic waste in Basel Convention

A new UN accord signed to include plastic waste in Basel Convention

180 national governments have agreed on a new United Nations (UN) accord to regulate the export of plastic waste.

It also undertook to eliminate two toxic chemical groups, Dicofol, and Perfluorooctanoic Acid, plus related compounds. The Geneva meeting amended the 1989 Basel Convention on the control of hazardous wastes to include plastic waste in a legally-binding framework.

About 1,400 representatives from almost every country in the world met for 12 days of discussions at a United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

Except for the United States, about 180 governments, agreed to the deal to include plastic waste in a legally-binding framework. Even though the U.S. and a few others have not signed the accord, they cannot ship plastic waste to countries that are on board with the deal.

This is a move to quickly reduce the amount of plastic being washed into the world's oceans.

Garbage Politics

Developed countries like the US and Canada have been exporting their mixed toxic plastic wastes to developing Asian countries claiming it would be recycled in the receiving country.

Instead, much of this contaminated mixed waste cannot be recycled and is instead dumped or burned, or finds its way into the ocean. Plastic waste pollution has reached epidemic proportions with an estimated 100 million tonnes of plastic now found in the oceans.

Basel Convention

In 1989, the Conference of Plenipotentiaries (COP) in Basel, Switzerland adopted The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.

It was adopted in response to large public outcry after it was discovered that large deposits of toxic wastes were being imported from abroad into the developing world. The Basel Convention came into force in 1992.

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