News Features

 

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

UN Special Rapporteur’s report on toxics available online as Human Rights Council convenes in Geneva
The 39th Session of the UN Human Rights Council features the launch of the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Toxics on “Workers Rights and Toxic Exposures” and a relevant side event focussing on the need to beat pollution.

UN Special Rapporteur’s report on toxics available online as Human Rights Council convenes in Geneva

UN Special Rapporteur’s report on toxics available online as Human Rights Council convenes in Geneva
 
M-Cube launched to raise awareness on marine litter and microplastics
Thanks to funding from the UK, an art installation in the heart of international Geneva became the focus of public awareness activity as part of the Basel Convention High Level Event on 4 September.

M-Cube launched to raise awareness on marine litter and microplastics

M-Cube launched to raise awareness on marine litter and microplastics

Thanks to funding from the UK, an art installation in the heart of international Geneva became the focus of public awareness activity as part of the Basel Convention High Level Event on 4 September.

Watch the Basel Convention High-Level Event on Marine Litter
More than 70 ambassadors gathered in Geneva on 4 September to discuss ways forward to tackle marine plastic litter and microplastics.

Watch the Basel Convention High-Level Event on Marine Litter

Watch the Basel Convention High-Level Event on Marine Litter
 
Basel Convention High-Level Event focuses spotlight on marine litter and waste
International Geneva will mobilise for action on marine litter, waste, and microplastics from 2 to 6 September.

Basel Convention High-Level Event focuses spotlight on marine litter and waste

Basel Convention High-Level Event focuses spotlight on marine litter and waste
 
Global gatherings of chemicals and waste expertise as BRS stages subsidiary body meetings
Scientific, legal and policy experts from across the world converge on Geneva and Rome to prepare decisions for the sound management of chemicals and waste.

Global gatherings of chemicals and waste expertise as BRS stages subsidiary body meetings

Global gatherings of chemicals and waste expertise as BRS stages subsidiary body meetings

Chemicals and waste experts from around the world, representing governments, civil society, and international organisations, converge on Geneva and Rome this September to contribute to the work of the subsidiary bodies of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions.

The Basel Convention meetings take place in Geneva and for the first time feature a parallel High-Level Event on Marine Litter, whose aim is to continue to focus attention and build momentum towards implementing solutions for this pressing global issue. For more information on this event, please contact Kei Ohno Woodall by email: kei.ohno-woodall@brsmeas.org.

At the same time, the Convention’s Open-ended Working Group (OEWG), stages its 11th meeting from 3 to 6 September with a range of important topics under consideration including electronic waste, household waste, marine plastic litter and microplastics, and waste containing nanomaterials. Addressing strategic, scientific and legal matters, the OEWG guides and reviews the intersessional work between COPs and makes recommendations for decisions to be taken at the next Basel Convention COP, in April/May 2019 in Geneva. For more on OEWG-11, including the agenda and relevant background documents in the 6 UN languages, see: www.basel.int/oewg11.

Back-to-back with OEWG, the Basel Convention’s Implementation and Compliance Committee (ICC) stages its 13th meeting from 7 to 10 September. The ICC members will work towards improving national reporting, combating illegal traffic, controlling transboundary movements of covered wastes, developing legislation and reviewing the implementation fund, together with consideration of nine existing and one new specific submissions. For more on ICC-13, see: http://www.basel.int/TheConvention/ImplementationComplianceCommittee/Meetings/ICC13/Overview/tabid/6290/Default.aspx.

Switching to Rome, back-to-back meetings of the two scientific subsidiary bodies of the Rotterdam Convention and the Stockholm Convention are staged at the headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

First, the Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee (CRC) stages its 14th meeting from 11 to 14 September. CRC-14 considers draft decision guidance documents for acetochlor, hexabromocyclododecane and phorate, reviews the Handbook of Working Procedures and Policy Guidance, and reviews notifications of final regulatory actions for three chemicals (hexabromocyclododecane, methyl-parathion and PFOA). The Committee’s recommendations and draft decision guidance documents will be forwarded to the next Rotterdam Convention COP, in April/May 2019 in Geneva. For more on CRC-14, including agenda and all background documents, see: www.pic.int/crc14.

Second, the Stockholm Convention’s POPs Review Committee (POPRC) stages its 14th meeting from 17 to 21 September. POPRC-14 considers a draft risk profile for PFHxS, takes into account additional information in order to strengthen its recommendation for listing of PFOA, and also evaluates the continued needs for acceptable purposes and specific exemptions for PFOS. The Committee’s recommendations will be forwarded to the next Stockholm Convention COP, in April/May 2019 in Geneva. For more on POPRC-14, including agenda and all background documents, see: www.pops.int/poprc14.

BRS contributes to high-level political debate on sound management
BRS chief Rolph Payet participated in discussions at the High-Level Political Forum in New York, at which Sweden announced the launch of the High Ambition Alliance on Chemicals and Waste.

BRS contributes to high-level political debate on sound management

BRS contributes to high-level political debate on sound management
 
Single-use plastics again the focus of international attention
July 3rd is International Plastic Bag Free Day as organisations worldwide keep marine litter at the top of the global agenda.

Single-use plastics again the focus of international attention

Single-use plastics again the focus of international attention
 
BRS Executive Secretary conducts live interview at The GEF Assembly, Danang, Viet Nam
Watch the recording of Rolph Payet’s interview for insights as to how the sound management of chemicals and wastes contributes to a clean planet and healthy people.

BRS Executive Secretary conducts live interview at The GEF Assembly, Danang, Viet Nam

BRS Executive Secretary conducts live interview at The GEF Assembly, Danang, Viet Nam
 
Report on implementation of BRS programmes of work & budgets now available
Now online: Secretariat report on the implementation of the programmes of work & budgets of the Basel, Rotterdam & Stockholm conventions for the biennium 2016-2017

Report on implementation of BRS programmes of work & budgets now available

Report on implementation of BRS programmes of work & budgets now available

 

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