The potential “dumping” of e-waste in India under the guise of reuse and repair, along with including the entry of mixed, contaminated plastic waste in the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) category were the two issues where India intervened at the triple COP (Conference of the Parties) meetings which ended earlier this month.
The meetings involved conferences of the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and were held in Geneva between April 29 and May 10 on the theme ‘Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste’. Over 180 countries participated in the meetings.
A delegation of officials from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC), agriculture, chemicals, and electronics and information technology participated in the meeting.
“Among the major decisions was on the transboundary movement of e-waste. Waste from developed countries is sent to developing countries under the guise of reuse and repair. There is no accountability on the exporting country to take these back,” a senior MOEFCC official said.
In Basel Convention, draft technical guidelines stipulated the conditions when used electrical and electronic equipment destined for direct reuse, repair, refurbishment or failure analysis should be considered as non-waste. India had major reservations regarding these provisions as in the name of re-use, repair, refurbishment… The Indian delegation strongly objected the proposed decision on these guidelines during plenary and did not allow it to be passed by the conference of the parties (COP)… On the final day of the COP, a modified decision was adopted in which all the concerns raised by India were incorporated… the guidelines were adopted on an interim basis only… and the usage of interim guidelines to be done only on a pilot basis,” a statement issued by the ministry said.
The second issue where India intervened, the official said, was the decision to amend the convention to include unsorted, mixed and contaminated plastic waste under PIC procedure and improve the regulation of its trans-boundary movement.
Earlier this year, India banned the import of plastic waste in the country.
“Plastic pollution is becoming a become a major environmental concern across the globe. India has already imposed a complete prohibition of import of solid plastic waste into the country. Even if some mislabelled waste reaches India, we can now ask the exporting country to take it back. Earlier, this provision was missing,” the official said.