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smoothie  ON THE GROUND
Detoxifying our future

Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions have agreed to better manage a host of hazardous chemicals, create a new partnership to tackle household waste and hand a mandate to tackle marine plastics at a landmark meeting taking place in Geneva.


The Conference was the largest ever meeting of the Conventions to date, with 1,300 participants – including 80 ministers - attending the two-week event from over 170 countries.


“We have seen a surge in positive commitments from governments,” said Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the three Conventions. “The sustainable management of chemicals and waste must be met, in order for our health and that of our children to be protected, wherever we live, and whatever our job, whatever our gender, nationality or income,” he stressed.


The Basel Convention agreed a number of important decisions, including the establishment of a new public-private Partnership on Household Waste to assist countries deal with this issue of growing concern. They also gave a mandate to begin tackling marine litter - a key challenge of our time.

The Rotterdam Convention added four more chemicals and pesticides to Annex III. These included the two pesticides carbofuran and trichlorfon, and two industrial chemicals known as short-chain chlorinated paraffins. The latter are used as a softener in paints for example but pose risks to soil and water-dwelling organisms - traces had been found in air, waterways and sediments.


The addition of these highly toxic substances brings the total number of chemicals listed under the Convention to fifty.


Listing does not constitute a ban under the Convention, but does however enable Parties to make informed decisions on future imports of these chemicals, based on a structured information exchange known as the Prior Informed Consent procedure.


Meanwhile, all three Persistent Organic Pollutants recommended are now to be listed under the Stockholm Convention.


These cover C-decaBDE – which can be used in plastics for example but harm human health and the environment - short-chain chlorinated paraffins and hexachlorobutadiene, which causes liver degeneration and other effects.


The first two chemicals are listed under Annex A and Parties must take measures to eliminate the production and use of these chemicals, with specific exemptions for use or production. The third chemical will be listed under Annex C and Parties must take measures to reduce the unintentional releases of this chemical.


The safe management of chemicals and wastes are essential for the implementation of the Global Goals on poverty reduction, health, gender, water, cities, oceans, food and sustainable consumption and production.


For more information on the meetings please click here or contact












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