UN environmental agency steps up battle against marine pollution

1 March 2005 – Coastal pollution, including plastic waste, discarded lead-acid batteries and used oils and lubricants, will come under renewed attack under a new agreement signed by the United Nations environmental agency and an international treaty body controlling hazardous wastes.

The Memorandum of Understanding, signed last week in Nairobi, Kenya, by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Seas Programme and the Secretariat of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, seeks to raise awareness on hazardous waste and marine pollution.

The main area of cooperation is the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes in order to prevent coastal and marine pollution and the two organizations will support each other with technical and legal training.

The Basel Convention is the world’s most comprehensive environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes. It has over 160 Parties and aims to protect human health and the environment from the inappropriate management of hazardous and other wastes.

The Convention regulates the movement of hazardous waste and obliges its members to ensure that such wastes are managed and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. It covers toxic, poisonous, explosive, corrosive, flammable, ecotoxic, and infectious wastes that are being moved from one country to another.

Governments are also expected to minimize the quantities that are transported, to treat and dispose of wastes as close as possible to their place of generation and to minimize the generation of hazardous waste at source.

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