Around 186 countries across the world have agreed to check and monitor the movement of plastic waste from one country to the other.
- Plastic has become a global concern as it is spread from the highest of the peaks to the deepest of the trenches polluting every kind of ecosystem and contaminating our food.
- The non-regulation of plastic waste has led to rich countries dumping it in poor and developing countries.
- To put an end to this, at a recently held UN meeting, 186 countries agreed to bring plastic waste under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal.
- The convention is an internationally binding agreement.
- With the inclusion of plastic waste as a hazardous material, the movement of plastic waste from an array of industries including health, aerospace, fashion, food, etc., gets restricted.
- The agreement known as the ‘Partnership on Plastic Waste’ is historical in its scope for curtailing plastic waste from harming the environment.
- Already, large masses of plastic waste is floating in the middle of major oceans and is posing a threat to marine life.
The US Backs Out
- The United States, one of the largest producer and exporter of plastic waste did not sign the agreement.
Yet, it is difficult for the country to dump plastic waste in countries that are signatories to the agreement.
- The agreement puts in place a transparent and traceable system for export and import of plastic waste.
- Customs agents will be on the lookout for electronic waste or other potentially hazardous plastic waste.
The Basel Convention
- It is an international treaty under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
- It checks the movement of hazardous waste especially from developed to least developed countries (LDCs).
- Radioactive waste is not included in the treaty.
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- India, being a developing country is one of the countries that import huge quantities of plastic waste for recycling.
- It has harmful effects on the local environment.
- The agreement will now change the scenario and augur well for the country and for the world.