Chemical transparency is an essential tool to increase the effectiveness of the Basel Convention

Chemical transparency is an essential tool to increase the effectiveness of the Basel Convention

Chemicals in Products

On June 12, during the plenary session of the Conference of Parties to the Basel Convention, groundWork SA, HEJSupport, and SSNC made an intervention highlighting the importance of chemical transparency to increase the effectiveness of the Basel Convention implementation.

Basel Convention

Thank you, Mr. Chair, for the opportunity to make an intervention.

We at groundWork SA, HEJSupport and SSNC believe that to keep hazardous chemicals out of the material cycles and ensure that reuse and recycling are safe for human health and the environment, transparency for chemicals of global concern in materials and products, including those from plastic, is needed.

The lack of formal transparency requirements for the already regulated chemicals complicates implementation work and risks undermining the efficiency of the Basel Convention in the longer run. Without transparency, the requirement for environmentally sound recycling of plastic waste and the right to pre-informed consent cannot be secured.

Furthermore, the risk for this to happen is increasing as a circular economy becomes an important strategy to ensure resource-efficient material flows and reduce volumes of terminal waste. Trade in waste will increasingly supply secondary raw materials to the circular economy. In many low- and middle-income countries, the informal sector is already involved in the circular economy; however, workers are unknowingly being exposed to hazardous chemicals and spreading them with recycled materials in an uncontrolled fashion. This situation must urgently change.

We, therefore, believe in the importance to include the need for chemicals transparency in the document UNEP/CHW.15/10 on Further consideration of plastic waste to increase the effectiveness of the measures taken under the Convention to address the plastic waste contributing to marine plastic litter and microplastics;

We also believe that chemical transparency should be included in the plastic waste guidelines, starting with ensuring transparency for already regulated chemicals under the BRS conventions.

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Written by Olga Speranskaya