Basel Convention – Treaty for Hazardous Waste

basel convention

What is the Basel Convention?  

The Basel Convention is an international treaty on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste. This was launched in 1989 in Basel, Switzerland.  The treaty was put in place as a protection of human and environmental health against hazardous waste.  

How did the Basel Convention come into effect?  

The treaty came into place after developing countries had toxic wasted disposed of on their land, from foreign countries.  

Before the treaty came into effect, there was a high resistance to proper toxic waste disposal and companies were happy to go the cheaper route when disposal costs were raised – this meant seeking out disposal in developing countries, such as Africa. This wasn’t hard to do, considering developing countries were not as advanced in environmental awareness and the restrictions and regulations were not in place to ensure that the waste was being disposed of properly. The Basel Convention was to battle the toxic trade taking place.  

What are the aims of the Basel Convention? 

The key aims of the Basel Convention, detail that they aim to reduce hazardous waste and promote environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes, regardless of where they are deposed of. This is enforced through requiring the fundamental principles of waste management to be observed by each State.  

The second aim of is to restrict the transboundary movements of hazardous waste. They cannot be exported to countries out within the treaty; however, exceptions can be made in bilateral agreements. For this to take place, the alternative must be to the same environmental effect as the Basel Convention. 

These agreements must be heavily documented between the state that intends to export and the party that plans to have hazardous waste imported. These documents must go through the authorities of the state of import. 

One of the areas that the Basel Convention covers, is having guidelines on the disposal of wastes that are contaminated with persistent organic pollutants (POPs). 

Why is the Basel Convention important? 

The Basel Convention is important to ensure that there are protections in place regarding where hazardous waste can be imported to and how it may be disposed of. This protects both those exporting the hazardous waste and those who are importing it. While those protections are important, it is also an efficient way to protect human health from the dangers hazardous waste can pose, as well as protects the environment. 

At Impact Solutions, we carry out testing for hazardous waste, including testing for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) with our gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (GCMS). For more information, please contact us here or call us at 01324 489 182.