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Plastic waste - common scourge of South and North Korea and source of future cooperation

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23.06.2022
By Bernhard J. Seliger

When in June for one week the so-called Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) conventions took place in Geneva, hundreds of delegates from all 188 participating countries in these three leading multilateral environment agreements came together to discuss how to better govern chemicals and waste management, in order to protect human health and the environment.

South Korea sent a delegation and North Korea, where currently no traveling can take place due to the self-isolation against COVID-19, was represented by its Geneva embassy. One of the urgent topics discussed was ways to reduce plastic waste.

Since 1950, approximately 6.3 billion tons of plastic waste have been generated, of which only 12 percent has been incinerated, less than 10 percent recycled and nearly 80 percent either discarded or landfilled. Unfortunately, this not only takes precious land away from more productive uses, but a lot of plastic waste also ends up in the world's oceans.

This is, where in particular the Basel Convention tries to intervene. The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the most comprehensive international environment treaty on hazardous and other wastes and is almost universal, with 188 parties. It was founded in 1989.

At the heart of the Basel Convention is a regulatory system to control transboundary movements of covered hazardous and other wastes, through a Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure. The convention also offers avenues for all parties to take collective action toward minimizing the sources of plastic waste generation and promoting environmentally sound management.

In the future, countries have to submit all information regarding the trade of plastic waste to the convention in regular........

© The Korea Times


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