Edited by Stephen Tully
Chapter 51: UNEP: Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, 1989
Commentary: The Convention (28 ILM 652 (1989), entry into force 1992) seeks to prevent uncontrolled movements and dumping of hazardous wastes in developing States by companies from developed countries. Such a practice was undertaken by ‘toxic traders’ during the 1980s in response to tighter environmental regulations within industrialised States. The Cairo Guidelines and Principles for the Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous Wastes introduced notification systems for receiving or transit States and it was the exporter’s responsibility to ensure that disposal sites met specified safety requirements: UNEP Governing Council Decision 14/30 (1987). The Basel Convention addresses hazardous waste at source and espouses environmentally sound management and an integrated life-cycle approach. In addition to the extracts below, Article 7 provides that Article 6(1) applies mutatis mutandis to transboundary movements of hazardous wastes from Parties to non-Parties. Article 10 contemplates international cooperation to harmonise technical standards and waste management practices as well as implementing new environmentally sound low-waste technologies. Article 13 contemplates information exchange. Article 16 provides that the Secretariat may receive information from NGOs and can provide governments with information on consulting firms possessing the necessary technical competence. Annex I lists categories of waste streams to be controlled and wastes with particular constituents. Annex II identifies categories of waste requiring special consideration. Annex III lists hazardous characteristics (explosive, flammable, oxidising, poisonous, infectious, corrosive, toxic, ecotoxic) corresponding to the hazard classification system of the UN (1993) ‘Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods’ (8th edn). Annex IV identifies disposal operations leading to...
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