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Basel Convention Open-Ended Working Group Agrees to Develop ESM Guidelines on New POPs

4 October 2012: The eighth meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group on the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal discussed technical guidelines for environmentally sound management (ESM) of waste containing persistent organic pollutants (POPs), considered new entries for the list of wastes covered by the Convention, and discussed follow-up to the Indonesian-Swiss country-led initiative (CLI) to improve the effectiveness of the Basel Convention.

The Working Group convened from 25-28 September 2012, in Geneva, Switzerland.

On the technical guidelines for environmentally sound management of wastes containing POPs, the Working Group agreed to cover “new POPs” added in 2010 to the Stockholm Convention.

Development of technical guidelines were included in the programme of work of a small intersessional working group, and will address the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with: commercial octabromodiphenyl ether (hexabromodiphenyl ether and heptabromodiphenyl ether); commercial pentabromodiphenyl ether (tetrabromodiphenyl ether and pentabromodiphenyl ether); and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, its salts and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride.

The Working Group also agreed to proposals submitted by Finland, Ireland, and the Netherlands for new entries to the list of wastes contained in Annex IX to the Basel Convention. Substances to be added include: composite packaging consisting of mainly paper and some plastic; biodegradable waste from agriculture, horticulture, forestry, gardens, parks and cemeteries; non-separable plastic fraction from the pre-treatment of used liquid packages; pressure-sensitive adhesive label laminate waste containing raw materials used in label material production; and non-separable plastic-aluminium fraction from the pre-treatment of used liquid packages. These substances will be considered by the Conference of the Parties at its 11th meeting (COP 11).

As a follow-up to the CLI of Indonesia and Switzerland to improve the effectiveness of the Basel Convention, the Working Group considered a report on the interpretation of certain terminology to provide further legal clarity. The Working Group decided to develop a glossary covering key terminology under the Convention, such as waste/non-waste, hazardous/non-hazardous waste, re-use, direct re-use, refurbishment, second hand goods, used goods and end-of-life goods, and recommended that COP 11 establish an intersessional group to undertake further work on this core issue. [Basel Convention Press Release] [Working Group Meeting Documents]