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Asbestos producers unleash propaganda war against WHO, ILO and Rotterdam Convention Secretariat

Written By mediavigil on Tuesday, May 05, 2015 | 5:55 AM

Russia & Kazakhstan opposing listing of white chrysotile asbestos under UN list of hazardous substances as if it constitutes ban

Joint session of three UN Conference of Parties (COP) of Basel Convention’s 12th COP, Rotterdam Convention’s 7th COP and Stockholm Convention’s 7th COP is underway in Geneva

India should ratify Ban Amendment to stop hazardous waste & end-of-life ships dumping

May 5, 2015: While white chrysotile asbestos is on the agenda of UN’s Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade for the fifth time, Russia & Kazakhstan are behaving as if mere listing of white asbestos chrysotile under UN list of hazardous substances constitute a trade ban. They are disregarding the fact that listing a chemical under the Convention does not constitute a trade ban on white chrysotile asbestos.
In an unprecedented tactical move, both these countries attacked World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labour Organization (ILO) which has passed resolutions seeking elimination of all kinds of asbestos is manifestly irrelevant. They also attacked the Secretariat of Rotterdam Convention. It is evidently an exercise by asbestos producers to create an impression that listing of white chrysotile asbestos is the same as banning it. It is clearly a part their deliberate propaganda war to get the decision on its listing postponed once again.
In this conflict between naked lust for profit which asbestos producers represent and the truth about public health concerns of the present and future generations, it remains to be seen which one will succeed. The position paper on Rotterdam Convention Alliance is attached.         
Earlier, the joint session of the three Conference of Parties (COP) of Basel Convention’s 12th COP, Rotterdam Convention’s 7th COP and Stockholm Convention’s 7th COP (BRS) adopted agendas and discussed work related to waste containing persistent organic pollutants (POPs) at its commencement on, 4th May 2015. The theme of COPs is “from science to action, working for a safer tomorrow.”
The issue of ratification of the Ban Amendment which was adopted at the Second Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (COP2), 25th March, 1994 in Geneva, remains on the horizon. The Basel Ban decision effectively banned as of 1st January, 1998, all forms of hazardous waste exports from the 29 wealthiest most industrialized countries of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to all non-OECD countries like India. Since 2013 countries which have ratified include Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Colombia, Guatemala, Republic of Congo and Peru. It was stated that 12 more instruments of ratification are required for the Ban Amendment to enter into force. India is a signatory to Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal but it is yet to ratify Ban Amendment. ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) urges the government to ratify it at the earliest to deal with the menace of dumping of hazardous wastes and end-of-life ships in Indian waters. In order for the amendment to enter the force of law it will need to be ratified by 62 of the Basel Parties. India should resist the influence of USA, Australia, Canada and such industrial lobby groups as the United States Chamber of Commerce, and the International Chamber of Commerce who are against the Amendment.
A contact group has been established and convened for technical guidelines, to begin consideration of POPs waste guidelines. It deliberated on the low-POPs content values for several POPs, guidance for Environmentally Sound Management and the precautionary principle.
Jagusiewicz, Basel Convention President, Khashashneh, Rotterdam Convention President and Lissinger Peitz, Stockholm Convention President declared their respective meetings open and introduced their respective agendas which were all adopted without amendment. Jagusiewicz is also the President of joint session who will speak on behalf of all the Presidents of the three Conventions.
The listing chemicals under the Rotterdam Convention, adoption of Basel Convention Technical Guidelines on electrical and electronic waste and agreement on compliance mechanisms for the Conventions are expected to be significant results at the end of the joint session on 15th May.
The current chemical consumption pattern has already crossed the carrying capacity of natural capital but adopting Ostrich policy, it was opined that it is yet to cross the limit of its carrying capacity.
For Details: Gopal Krishna, Ban Asbestos Network of India-ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb: 08227816731, 09818089660, E-mail-1715krishna@gmail.com, Web: www.toxicswatch.org
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