For the first time ever, international shipments of plastic waste came under global control this year. That’s because disposable plastic — a major pollutant of the world’s waters and atmosphere, fodder for incinerators, occupier of overflowing landfills, and material for costly recycling — was added to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. The convention is a United Nations treaty aimed at managing the adulterating of lands and seas with novel polluting entities, but how effectively this international protocol will work to control plastics disposal remains to be seen. For nearly three decades, the Basel Convention has regulated international transport of hazardous materials, primarily so wealthy companies couldn’t dump their dangerous garbage on less-developed ones. Garbage in Pattaya, Thailand. Major global recipients of plastic waste included Turkey, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Mexico. Image by Leonid Danilov via Pexels. The agreement was formulated in 1989, and took effect in 1992, and initially covered toxic, poisonous, explosive, corrosive, flammable, ecotoxic and infectious wastes, including chemicals such as arsenic, mercury and cadmium; lead and other metals; copper including ash; electronics; cathode-ray and other glass tubes; and now has been extended to encompass plastics. (The Basel Convention does not deal with nuclear waste, which is instead regulated by the International Atomic Energy Agency.) The Basel Convention partially addresses one of nine critical planetary boundaries — scientifically estimated limits within which humanity can continue to thrive, but which, if exceeded, could threaten civilization, humanity, and much of…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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