Shri T.R. Baalu addresses the 5th Meeting of the COP to the Basel Convention
India has called for a strong Protocol on Liability and Compensation to encourage countries to be more vigilant in the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes.
Speaking at the 5th Meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the Basel Convention at Basel, Switzerland on December 9, 1999, the Minister of Environment and Forests, Shri T.R.Baalu stressed the need for the development of projects and formulation of financial strategies for setting up of treatment facilities in developing countries.
Emphasising the need for a proper monitoring mechanism to ensure compliance of the Convention, the Minister said that the ban of transboundary movement of hazardous wastes destined either for final disposal or recycling and recovery operations from Annexe-VII States (Countries of European Union, OECD and Litchestien) to non-Annexe-VII States does not explicitly take into account the ability of member states to process wastes in an environmentally sound manner.
"Till date, there is no consensus on the criteria to be adopted to judge if a particular process or technology for disposal or recycling could be categorised as environmentally sound", Shri Baalu said.
Shri Baalu expressed apprehensions that the ban amendment which imposes a blanket ban on movement of recyclable wastes to non-Annexe-VII countries may come in the way of technology upgradation of recycling industry in non-Annexe-VII countries. "This would not be conducive to environmentally sound management of wastes which is the primary objective of this Convention", he added.
India had ratified the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal in 1992.
'Till date, there is no consensus on the criteria to be adopted to judge if a particular process or technology for disposal or recycling could be categorised as environmentally sound.'
The objective of the Basel Convention is to reduce transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and other wastes and to dispose them off in an environmentally sound way.
In 1995, the Third Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention banned transboundary movements of hazardous wastes destined either for final disposal or recycling and recovery operations from Annexe-VII States to non-Annexe-VII States. However, movement of hazardous wastes is allowed within Annexe-VII States.
Shri Baalu also outlined the steps taken by India in the field of hazardous waste mangement which include:
Amendment to the domestic legislation on waste management in harmony with decisions adopted in the Convention.
Setting up of Hazardous Wastes Treatment, Shortage and Disposal Facility with private sector partnership.
Training and education programme for customs and port authorities for monitoring the movement of hazardous wastes.
A legislation for collection and disposal of old/used lead-acid batteries, in an environmentally sound manner.
Banning of imports of hazardous wastes containing toxic heavy metals and other wastes covered in Annexe-VIII to the Convention.
A legislation has been put in place for management of bio-medical wastes. A time bound action programme has been stipulated for collection and treatment of such wastes in an environmentally sound manner.
A draft legislation for management of municipal solid wastes in the country.