The Basel Convention:
In the late 1980’s, an international scandal occurred involving the international trafficking of dangerous waste materials. Hazardous waste was shipped to developing nations from industrialized countries which had strict disposal laws.
Because of this trafficking, The Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was adopted in Basel, Switzerland on 22 March 1989. This Convention which came into force in 1992 is an international agreement banning the transport of dangerous waste material from industrialized nations to developing countries.
At first, the Convention only banned hazardous waste exports to Antarctica, but in February 1998, representatives from over 100 countries gathered in Kuching, Malaysia to fully implement the Basel Ban and stop the importing of industrial wastes to developing nations. In 2006, only Afghanistan, Haiti and the United States had not signed the treaty.
The Basel Convention states that the transport of hazardous wastes to another country is illegal without permission of that country and notification to all concerned countries. The Basel Convention advises and assists governments in managing their toxic and hazardous wastes responsibly by minimizing their production and transport and ensuring environmentally responsible disposal. This helps prevent the pollution of the earth’s natural environment with hazardous waste. It also helps to prevent pollution caused diseases that would harm the people in the developing countries.
This organization is a good example of the Global community acting together for the well-being of the planet. It is the beginning of an understanding that the earth belongs to all of us and needs to be cared for by all of us.
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“The Basel Convention Ban Amendment,” Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. Accessed 9 February 2008. <http://www.basel.int/pub/baselban.html>
“Illegal Traffic”, Basel Convention. Accessed 13 Feb 2008
“Chemical Conventions Handbook.” National Toxics Network Inc. Accessed 9 Feb 2008. <http://www.ntn.org.au/cchandbook/basel/desc_sc3.html>
Gingrich, Newt, and Terry L. Maple. A Contract with the Earth. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2007. Accessed 13 February 2008.
Molas. “A very toxic-looking disposal site near Lijiang”. Flickr.com. 27 October 2006. Accessed 13 February 2008. <http://flickr.com/photos/molas/281065194/>
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