New rules on hazardous waste exports from December

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China recycling
A person collecting waste in China

International hazardous waste exports rules are set to change from 5 December 2019.

With the ratification of the Basel Action Network (BAN) Amendment to the Basel Convention, exports of hazardous waste from European Union and OECD countries to other countries will be prohibited.

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This amendment was first proposed in 1994, but was resisted by countries including United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Australia, Canada and Japan. As a result of this opposition, the proposal was ratified.

Eventually, a diplomatic settlement process was required, that needed 66 of the original parties that were present and voted on the measure to ratify the amendment.

With Croatia now ratifying it to reach the 66 target (and becoming the 97th member overall to do so), these new rules will come into effect 90 days after the ratification.

Countries including Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, India, Brazil and Mexico have not ratified the BAN Amendment but will be required to implement it as they are Basel Convention signatories.

The United States has not ratified the BAN Amendment or the Basel Convention, meaning it can only export hazardous waste to OECD countries.

BAN activist and director Jim Puckett said: “The most important idea ever conceived to promote environmental justice at the global level is now law.

“We applaud Croatia and all of the 97 countries that have ratified the agreement to date and hope that others will now do so at the earliest opportunity.”

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