India’s Waste Dumping Proposal
Relevance of the news: The news highlights the developments in the field of global waste management and India’s role in it.
Why is it in News?
A proposal by India to avert developed countries from dumping their electronic and plastic waste onto developing countries was defeated at a meeting of the Basel Convention in Geneva.
The Basel Convention:
- Basel Convention lays down the guidelines on the movement of hazardous waste in the world.
- The text of the agreement, in the current form, still allows countries to export various categories of plastic waste and countries continue to ship different kinds of plastics and e-waste to Indian ports. They may not make it to the mainland but they end up becoming India’s problem as we have to spend money and recycle or dump it.
- India and Nigeria were the only countries that had strongly opposed the guidelines, pushed by the European Union, to dilute safeguards against the trans-boundary movement of e-waste.
- Indian laws currently don’t allow electronic and plastic waste to be imported into the country. Plastic and electronic waste recyclers in Special Economic Zones were permitted to import waste for recycling. However, they will not be allowed to do so after August 31 this year.
- A key outcome of the meeting was an amendment to the Convention that includes plastic waste in a legally-binding framework which would make global trade in plastic waste more transparent and better regulated, whilst also ensuring that its management is safer for human health and the environment.
- Pollution from plastic waste has reached epidemic proportions with an estimated 100 million tonnes of plastic now found in the oceans, 80%-90% of which comes from land-based sources.
- India, too, grapples with the problem of having piles of electronic and plastic waste that aren’t recycled or treated.
Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal:
- Adopted in 1989 in Basel, Switzerland, the Convention came into force in 1992. It aims to reduce the movement of hazardous waste between countries and especially focuses on preventing transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries.
- It provides for cooperation between the parties, including exchange of information on issues relevant to the implementation of the Convention.