The Technical Working Group of the Basel Convention has developed in the Technical Guidelines, the elements for assisting States, in particular developing countries, in activities to be carried out within the framework of the environmentally sound management of the hazardous wastes they generate.
The Technical Guidelines are principally meant to provide guidance to countries which are building their capacity to manage waste in an environmentally and efficient way and in their development of detailed procedures, waste management plans or strategies.
Previously adopted versions
The present publication provides guidance on the environmentally sound co-processing of hazardous wastes in cement kilns. The technical guidelines was adopted by the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (decision BC-10/8) in October 2011.
Co-processing of wastes in properly controlled cement kilns provides energy and materials recovery while cement is being produced, offering an environmentally sound recovery option for many waste materials. As countries strive for greater self-sufficiency in hazardous waste management, particularly in developing countries that may have little or no waste management infrastructure, properly controlled co-processing can provide a practical, cost effective and environmentally preferred option to landfill and incineration.
The present publication provides guidance for the environmentally sound management (ESM) of wastes consisting of elemental mercury and wastes containing or contaminated with mercury. It was adopted by the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (decision BC-10/7) in October 2011.
Mercury is recognized as a global hazardous pollutant. Mercury emissions and releases can be human-caused (anthropogenic) and may also come from natural sources. Once mercury is released into the environment, it persists in the atmosphere (mercury vapour), soil (ionic mercury) and aquatic phase (methylmercury (MeHg, or CH3Hg+)). Some mercury in the environment ends up in the food chain because of bioaccumulation and biomagnification and is eventually ingested by humans.
Improper handling, collection, transportation or disposal of wastes consisting of elemental mercury and wastes containing or contaminated with mercury can lead to releases of mercury, as can some disposal technologies.
Ensuring environmentally sound management (ESM), particularly of wastes consisting of elemental mercury and wastes containing mercury, will be a critical issue for most countries.
The present general technical guidelines provide guidance for the environmentally sound management (ESM) of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with persistent organic pollutants (POPs), pursuant to decisions IV/17, V/26, VI/23, VII/13 and VIII/16 of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, I/4, II/10, III/8, IV/11 and V/12 of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention, resolution 5 of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, decisions INC-6/5 and INC-7/6 of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for an International Legally Binding Instrument for Implementing Action on Certain Persistent Organic Pollutants and decisions SC-1/21and SC-2/6 of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention.
Along with PCBs, these technical guidelines address polychlorinated terphenyls (PCTs) and polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) as a class or category of substances owing to similarities in the physico-chemical and toxicological properties of these substances.
Topics addressed include waste management, treatment and disposal. It should be noted that neither PCTs nor PBBs are subject to the Stockholm Convention.
Technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of wastes containing or contaminated with unintentionally produced polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), hexachlorobenzene (HCB) or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
The guidelines are also available in Bengali, Hindi, Turkish and Urdu (Copyright, Part I, Part II)
The Technical Guidelines for the Environmentally Sound Management of the Full and Partial Dismantling of Ships have been prepared with the intention of providing guidance to countries which have, or wish to establish, facilities for ship dismantling. The guidelines provide information and recommendations on procedures, processes and practices that must be implemented to achieve Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) at such facilities. The guidelines also provide advice on monitoring and verification of environmental performance.
The present document discusses criteria for classifying wastes under the Basel Convention with regard to the Annex III hazard characteristic H11, delayed or chronic toxic hazard.
A key goal of the Basel Convention is to ensure the protection of human health and the environment during the transboundary movement and disposal of waste. In general terms, this means that people and the environment should be protected against potential adverse effects caused by the generation, transport, handling and disposal of waste being transported between countries that are parties to the convention. The Annex III hazard characteristics work with the Annex VIII and IX waste lists to help accomplish this goal. The H11 hazard characteristic (delayed or chronic toxicity) is intended to ensure protection from wastes or waste constituents that can cause adverse health effects following very low but prolonged exposure of people to the waste, with the adverse effects occurring either during the exposure period, or after exposure has ceased. When the hazard posed by a waste is too great, the waste is classified as Basel hazardous, and the range of Basel controls and protections will apply.
The present document proposes criteria for the ecotoxicological hazard of wastes.
It is an aim of the Basel Convention that the management and transboundary movement of hazardous waste are consistent with the protection of human health and the environment. In terms of ecotoxicity, this means that wildlife as well as the functioning of the ecosystems should be protected against potential adverse effects caused by the generation, transport and disposal of hazardous waste.
The purpose of this document is to provide the Parties to the Basel Convention with guidance on the application and use of H13 of Annex III of the Convention to determine the hazard properties of waste.
Under the Basel Convention hazardous wastes are defined according to a list of substances (Annex I – categories of waste to be controlled) and their characteristics. One of these characteristics is H13, which is defined in Annex III as “Capable, by any means, after disposal, of yielding another material, e.g., leachate, which possesses any of the characteristics above.”
Many organic substances exhibit solvent type properties. Whilst any attempt to estimate the number in regular or common use involves subjective judgement, it is suggested that some 60 substances fall into this category. Annex 1 lists these substance, together with some information on their properties.
Solvents may be categorized in several ways, for example by industrial application, by chemical family, or by some property based description. The annex 2 shows groups of solvents by chemical type, or family.
Solvents display a very wide range of properties and characteristics. Many are flammable, some highly flammable, many are volatile and evaporate quite rapidly to give off vapours. Such vapours may be toxic or flammable-flammable vapours in confined spaces can be explosive. Toxic properties can be very varied, and include being carcinogenic, narcotic, ecotoxic and may even be mutagenic or teratogenic. Solvents may be more or less dense than water, more dense substances sinking to the bottom of watercourses, vessels etc. Whilst some solvents are totally miscible with water, others are not and display barely any solubility in water.
Oils originating from petroleum crude can be processed, blended and formulated to produce numerous ranges of products for many applications.
Users of oils and oil products include not only industrial and commercial interest, but by virtue in particular of lubricants and fuel oils, the individual citizen. This can have profound affects on waste disposal issues.