News Features

 

Plastic pollution in mountains in the spotlight in Geneva
Marking International Mountains Day, experts present key findings from the Waste Management Outlook for Mountain Regions and highlight that Mountains Matter!

Plastic pollution in mountains in the spotlight in Geneva

Plastic pollution in mountains in the spotlight in Geneva
 
Side event in Geneva marks conventions joining forces to beat plastic pollution
Strengthened cooperation between BRS and the Barcelona Convention to enhance the Mediterranean Action Plan and regional efforts to tackle marine plastic litter.

Side event in Geneva marks conventions joining forces to beat plastic pollution

Side event in Geneva marks conventions joining forces to beat plastic pollution

On the margins of the meeting, on Friday 7th December at 1.30pm, a side event takes place in Room 4, marking strengthened cooperation on tackling marine litter between the UN Environment/Mediterranean Action Plan - Barcelona Convention, and the BRS conventions.

Life-Cycle Approach to chemicals and waste in the spotlight in Beijing, China
Basel and Stockholm Convention Regional Centre’s roundtable meeting brings together participants from 7 Asian countries to discuss better approaches to chemicals and waste management.

Life-Cycle Approach to chemicals and waste in the spotlight in Beijing, China

Life-Cycle Approach to chemicals and waste in the spotlight in Beijing, China
 
Beat Marine Plastic Pollution: UN experts meet in Geneva to examine options
Important meeting assesses how to improve governance for tackling marine plastic pollution.

Beat Marine Plastic Pollution: UN experts meet in Geneva to examine options

Beat Marine Plastic Pollution: UN experts meet in Geneva to examine options

Important meeting in Geneva, 3 to 7 December 2019, assesses how to improve governance for tackling marine plastic pollution.

Marine plastic pollution is one of the most visible and pressing environmental concerns of our time. With an estimated 100 million tonnes of plastic in our seas, 80-90% of which has come from land-based sources[1], the high public profile of this issue is understandable. Reducing waste generation at source, and improving waste management thereafter, would go a long way towards solving this problem.

With that goal in mind, staff from the BRS Secretariat, led by Executive Secretary Rolph Payet, participate in the 2nd Meeting of the Ad-Hoc Expert Group on Marine Litter and Microplastics, convening in the Palais des Nations, Geneva from 3 to 7 December 2018.

In reviewing a report which details gaps in the international policy framework, and in recommending future policy priority actions and responses, this meeting is designed to improve governance and bring forward proposals for consideration at the next United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) which takes place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 11 to 15 March 2019. This Assembly, which is the highest-level decision-making body on environmental issues in the world, is expected to address measures and commitments to tackle marine plastic pollution through its focus on “Innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production.”

The Basel Convention can offer an important part of the solution. In addition to its provisions aimed at controlling the exports of hazardous wastes and wastes generated from households (where a large amount of plastic waste originates) and ensuring their environmentally sound management, the Convention also seeks to tackle the problem at source through prevention and minimisation. Technical guidelines, guidance documents, and manuals have been developed to provide governments and stakeholders with real solutions to prevent and minimise their waste, to develop inventories of waste generated, and to develop infrastructure and effective techniques to ensure its proper recycling and disposal.

For more details on how the Basel Convention contributes to efforts for tackling marine plastic litter, see: http://www.brsmeas.org/?tabid=4332&blogId=5169.

For more information on how the BRS Secretariat is contributing, contact BRS Programme Officer Kei Ohno Woodall by email on: kei.ohno-woodall@brsmeas.org.

Conventions join forces to Beat Plastic Pollution

On the margins of the meeting, on Friday 7th December at 1.30pm, a side event takes place in Room 4, marking strengthened cooperation on tackling marine litter between the UN Environment/Mediterranean Action Plan - Barcelona Convention, and the BRS conventions.


[1] Data from “Marine litter plastics and microplastics and their toxic chemicals components: the need for urgent preventive measures” by Frederic Gallo et. al. in Environmental Sciences Europe 2018; 30(1): 13. Online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5918521/.

Stockholm Convention implementing agencies meet informally to boost implementation
The BRS Secretariat organised an informal brainstorming session of partners in Geneva, 17 November 2019, to identify cooperative strategies for maximising impact.

Stockholm Convention implementing agencies meet informally to boost implementation

Stockholm Convention implementing agencies meet informally to boost implementation
 
News on the sound management of chemicals and waste, including tackling marine plastics pollution
The latest BRS Newsletter, now online, has news of actions for a clean planet and healthy people.

News on the sound management of chemicals and waste, including tackling marine plastics pollution

News on the sound management of chemicals and waste, including tackling marine plastics pollution
 
Joint meeting of the bureaux of the conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions
The bureaux will meet on 15 and 16 November 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss preparations for the 2019 triple COPs.

Joint meeting of the bureaux of the conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions

Joint meeting of the bureaux of the conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions
 
Basel Convention Ban Amendment edges closer to entry into force as two more Parties deposit acceptance instruments
Accepted recently by Iceland and Namibia, the Amendment now requires only two more COP-3 Parties to deposit their instruments of acceptance, to enter into force.

Basel Convention Ban Amendment edges closer to entry into force as two more Parties deposit acceptance instruments

Basel Convention Ban Amendment edges closer to entry into force as two more Parties deposit acceptance instruments
 
BRS Regional information sessions series concludes with Latin America and Caribbean meeting in Lima, Peru
Regional information sessions, throughout October, are staged back-to-back with Minamata Convention COP-2 preparatory meetings.

BRS Regional information sessions series concludes with Latin America and Caribbean meeting in Lima, Peru

BRS Regional information sessions series concludes with Latin America and Caribbean meeting in Lima, Peru
 
BRS participates in the 21st Ministerial Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean in Buenos Aires, 11 to 12 October
BRS Executive Secretary moderates the “Ministerial Dialogue on Innovative Solutions to Detoxify our Environment” on marine plastic litter and sound management of chemicals & waste.

BRS participates in the 21st Ministerial Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean in Buenos Aires, 11 to 12 October

BRS participates in the 21st Ministerial Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean in Buenos Aires, 11 to 12 October
 
On International E-waste Day, please consider the hidden cost of your devices
This year for the first time, 13 October is designated International E-waste Day, to raise awareness of the possible hazards to health and environment of recycling mobile phones, computers, and other electronic devices.

On International E-waste Day, please consider the hidden cost of your devices

On International E-waste Day, please consider the hidden cost of your devices

An estimated 50 million tonnes of electronic, or E-waste, is generated every year. This year for the first time, 13 October is designated International E-waste Day, to raise awareness of the hazards to health and environment of improper recycling of   mobile phones, computers, and other electrical and electronic devices. Actions around the world will serve to highlight the direct connection between the unsafe disposal and recycling of electronic waste to negative impacts upon human health and the environment, especially in countries where recycling often takes place in the informal sector without sufficient protective equipment for workers, including vulnerable groups such as the poor, children, and women.

E-waste is categorized as hazardous waste due to the presence of toxic materials such as mercury, lead and brominated flame retardants, all considered as hazardous waste according to the Basel Convention. E-waste may also contain precious metals such as gold, copper and nickel and rare materials of strategic value such as indium and palladium. These precious and heavy metals can be recovered, recycled and used as valuable source of secondary raw materials. It has been documented that e-wastes are shipped to developing countries where it is often not managed in an environmentally sound manner, thus posing a serious threat to both human health and the environment from those toxic materials.

E-waste is considered one of the fastest growing hazardous waste streams in the world today. Some chemicals, including highly toxic Persistent Organic Pollutants (or POPs), are released into the atmosphere when plastic wiring is burnt to extract the valuable and recyclable copper wires inside. These toxic fumes are then inhaled by workers. This is just one of the ways unprotected, informal workers – including young people, women and children, are exposed to hazardous substances in the E-waste recycling sector.

For these reasons, the Basel Convention’s Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE) continues to work to promote environmentally sound management of E-waste. Guidance documents have been agreed, designed to help governments protect their citizens from the hazards implicit when managing and recycling end-of-life electronic devices such as personal computers, printers, and mobile phones. The Guidance documents are available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish and can be viewed or downloaded here: http://www.basel.int/Implementation/TechnicalAssistance/Partnerships/PACE/PACEGuidanceDocument/tabid/3246/Default.aspx

The Basel Convention also assists Parties to control transboundary movements of E-waste. An important distinction needs to be made between what is actually waste, or non-waste. To that end, the Parties adopted Guidelines on the distinction between waste and non-waste, with criteria and standards for transboundary movements. The Guidelines can be found here in all 6 UN languages: http://www.basel.int/Implementation/Ewaste/TechnicalGuidelines/DevelopmentofTGs/tabid/2377/Default.aspx

The World Economic Forum, using data from the E-waste Monitor, has produced two short videos summarising the issues around E-waste, with compelling footage and stories from Ghana and elsewhere, and outlining opportunities for the circular economy. Watch the videos here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Czu3BC7SrFQ and here: https://www.facebook.com/worldeconomicforum/videos/10155385708896479/

For more information on E-waste, please see: http://www.basel.int/Implementation/Ewaste/Overview/tabid/4063/Default.aspx Or, to find a special event near you on International E-waste Day, Saturday 13th November, on the website of the WEEE Forum: http://www.weee-forum.org/international-e-waste-day-0

News on actions to tackle marine plastic litter, chemicals & wastes, just a click away
Read the BRS Newsletter, now online, to keep up with actions for a clean planet and healthy people.

News on actions to tackle marine plastic litter, chemicals & wastes, just a click away

News on actions to tackle marine plastic litter, chemicals & wastes, just a click away
 
BRS Regional information sessions series continues in Chisinau, Moldova
Regional information sessions, throughout October, are staged back-to-back with Minamata Convention COP-2 preparatory meetings.

BRS Regional information sessions series continues in Chisinau, Moldova

BRS Regional information sessions series continues in Chisinau, Moldova
 
Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste
The BRS Secretariat is pleased to announce the theme for the 2019 Triple COPs.

Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste

Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste
Following lengthy consultations including with the Bureaux of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm conventions, the BRS Secretariat is pleased to announce the theme for the next Meetings of the Conferences of Parties, or Triple COPs, which will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 29 April to 10 May 2019: 
 Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste

The Theme is launched on the occasion of World Cleanup Day 2018, a global day of action to improve waste management and work collectively towards a cleaner planet for all. More information on World Cleanup Day can be found here: https://www.worldcleanupday.org.

More information on the Triple COPs can be found here: http://www.brsmeas.org/2019COPs/Overview/tabid/7523/language/en-US/Default.aspx.

Workers dying as a result of toxic exposure, says UN Special Rapporteur
A new report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Toxics states that one worker dies every 30 seconds from toxic exposure in the workplace.

Workers dying as a result of toxic exposure, says UN Special Rapporteur

Workers dying as a result of toxic exposure, says UN Special Rapporteur

Workers are dying as a result of toxic exposure in the workplace at a rate of one every 30 seconds, according to the new report from the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Hazardous Substances and Wastes, presented on 12 September at the 39th session of the Human Rights Council, in Geneva.

With 2.78 million deaths per year attributable to unhealthy or unsafe workplaces, the report finds that women, children, migrant works and the poor are especially vulnerable, and that the solutions to solve this global crisis of public occupational health require the participation of business, governments, and international organisations.

The report contains 15 recommendations or principles, the implementation of which would ease this toxic burden on workers around the world. Key among these is that every worker has the right not to be exposed to toxic substances without their prior informed consent, meaning full and prior information on the toxic hazards he or she might be exposed to.

The report states that workers have the right to also know the implications of exposure to harmful substances and wastes, the actions being taken to prevent exposure, and their rights in relation to such exposures. In relation to this right to know, the report finds that it is never legitimate for States or businesses to refuse to disclose health and safety information on the grounds that it is confidential, a safeguard which is also found in the legally-binding Stockholm (article 9) and Minamata (article 17) conventions respectively.

Following the 15 principles would assist countries and businesses to implement the ILO Promotional Framework for Healthy, would contribute towards the attainment of the globally-agreed Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs, and would also advance the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm conventions, the three principal and legally-binding chemicals and waste conventions, which have near-universal scope with 186, 160 and 182 parties respectively.

More importantly, however, implementing these principles would eliminate suffering, illness and death amongst the world’s most vulnerable workers.

For more details on the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Toxics, please see: http://www.srtoxics.org/

For the full report on Workers’ Rights and Hazardous Substances and Wastes, go to: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Environment/ToxicWastes/Pages/RightsWorkersToxicChemicalExposure.aspx

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