October 26, 2011

Ban on Export of Hazardous Waste to Developing Countries To Become Law Earlier Than Previously Agreed

Filed under: Chemicals & Waste — inece @ 6:34 pm

After years of deadlock over treaty interpretation, the 178 countries that are Parties to the Basel Convention agreed to speed up the entry into force of the Basel Ban Amendment, which prohibits all exports of hazardous wastes from developed to developing countries. The Basel Convention is the global treaty regulating the transboundary movement of hazardous waste.

In 1994 the countries who were party to the convention at the time adopted a decision agreeing to prohibit immediately all transboundary movements of hazardous wastes which are destined for final disposal operations from OECD to non-OECD States. At the next meeting of the Parties in 1995, they adopted a further decision IIII/1 as an amendment to the Convention. Since then, there has been disagreement over ratification of the amendment. A diplomatic working group known as the Country Led Initiative was formed to address the disagreement surrounding the Ban Amendment.

It has now been decided that the Ban Amendment will go into force when 68 of the 90 countries that were Parties to the Convention in 1995 ratify the agreement. It is expected that this can be achieved in 2-3 years.

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September 17, 2011

Criminal Charges in Major US E-Waste Exporter Case

Filed under: Asia, Chemicals & Waste, North America, seaports — Tags: , , — inece @ 7:39 am

The owner and chief executive officer of an electronic waste recycling buisness in Colorado, USA,  have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of wire and mail fraud, environmental crimes in connection with the failure to file a notification to export hazardous waste, exportation contrary to law, and destruction, alteration, or falsification of records.

“The investigation confirmed that Executive Recycling repeatedly exported used cathode ray tubes to China. In addition, Executive Recycling also made false promises to its customers who believed that Executive Recycling was properly disposing of their electronic waste. Homeland Security Investigations stands ready to prevent any company from circumventing U.S. controls to export hazardous waste,” said David M. Marwell, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Denver, Colorado.

The indictment is the result of an ongoing 30 month investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division.

Excerpted from the U.S. Department of Justice Press Release. For the full press release, see http://www.justice.gov/usao/co/press_releases/2011/September2011/9_16_11.html.

June 20, 2011

Join the CEC Public Forum on E-Waste Webcast on 21 June

Filed under: 9th Conference, Chemicals & Waste, North America — Tags: — inece @ 6:44 pm

The public is invited to participate in the 18th Regular Session of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s (CEC) Council and related events starting June 21. The events will be broadcast online in English, Spanish and French. During the meeting you will have opportunities to ask questions of the presenters and give feedback on their presentations. For more details, see the agendas online.

The events will kick off on Tuesday, 21 June, beginning at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern Time), with a public forum on managing e-waste in North America, organized by the CEC’s Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC).

On Wednesday, 22 June, the CEC Council, consisting of the cabinet-level environment ministers of the three NAFTA countries–Peter Kent of Canada, Juan Elvira Quesada of Mexico, and Lisa P. Jackson of the United States–will hold its annual session. Council members will address environmental issues of common concern and set direction for the Commission’s work program.

Council members will hear from selected members of the public on matters of interest or concern related to the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation or CEC endeavors.

Whether in person or from afar, you can participate in these free public sessions, as both will be webcast via the CEC website. Comments and questions may be submitted online at the website, or through Facebook andTwitter with #ewaste2011 and #CEC2011.

The full preliminary meeting agenda and registration form are available at www.cec.org/council2011. Get involved now!

April 6, 2011

Environment Canada reports record seizure of more than $1 million of HCFC-22

Filed under: Chemicals & Waste, Environmental Crime, North America — inece @ 8:50 pm

(C) 2007 NASA

The company, Gestion Alexis Dionne Inc. and its president, Mr. Alexis Dionne, have accepted responsibility for the illegal importation of approximately 120,000 kg of chlorodifluoromethane (HFCF-22). According to a press release from Environment Canada, the company and its president have been charged with four counts of illegal importation of HFCF-22 between September 2008 and June 2009, in contravention of the Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations, 1998.

To read the full article, click here: http://tinyurl.com/44owfh2

March 8, 2011

Canada Reports Record Seizure of Illegally Imported Ozone Depleting Substances

Filed under: Chemicals & Waste, Environmental Crime, North America — Tags: , — inece @ 2:10 pm

From the Environment Canada Press Release:

Following an investigation conducted by Environment Canada officers, the company Gestion Alexis Dionne Inc. and its president, Mr. Alexis Dionne, have accepted responsibility for the illegal importation of approximately 120,000 kg of chlorodifluoromethane (HFCF-22), a gas used in the refrigeration industry.

The company and its president have been charged with four counts of illegal importation of HFCF-22 between September 2008 and June 2009, in contravention of the Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations,1998.

With the agreement of the Attorney General of Canada, they have signed on March 2, 2011, an Environmental Protection Alternative Measures Agreement (EPAM) as provided under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

The charges against company Gestion Alexis Dionne Inc. and its president, Mr. Alexis Dionne, follow an investigation conducted by Environment Canada officers in 2009 at a warehouse located in Saint-Jérôme, Québec, where 5,315 cylinders, or approximately 72,285 kg, of HCFC-22 were discovered and seized. This is a record seizure.

Visit Environment Canada for the full Press Release.

February 28, 2011

UNEP Governing Council Concludes with Support for Green Economy, Environmental Governance Reform

Filed under: Chemicals & Waste, climate, UN System — inece @ 7:18 pm

From the UNEP Press Release:

A major sustainable development conference in Brazil next year offers a key opportunity to accelerate and to scale-up a global transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient Green Economy, a meeting of the world’s environment ministers has signaled.

Potential challenges, including new kinds of trade barriers, need to be managed. But a Green Economy offers a way of realizing sustainable development in the 21st century by “building economies, enhancing social equity and human well-being, while reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities”.

Ministers called on the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to support countries keen to operationalize such a transition and to play a key and ‘active’ role in putting the challenges, opportunities and strategies towards a Green Economy firmly on the agenda for next year’s landmark meeting.

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development 2012, or Rio+20, also needs to address how the world can better manage and govern the environment including by evolving and strengthening the institutions responsible.

The ministers responsible for the environment, who have been meeting this week at UNEP headquarters, expressed concern that the overall efforts of the United Nations and nations in respect to the ‘environmental pillar’ of sustainable development remained weak, underfunded and fractured.

In their summary of discussions, released today at the close, many delegates said countries needed to move beyond pinpointing shortcomings and to focus on a real reform agenda in the run up to Rio+20.

For more information, see  the full list of decisions, the Chair’s summary, and other related documents at http://www.unep.org/gc/gc26/; IISD’s coverage of the event at http://www.iisd.ca/unepgc/26unepgc/; and the UNEP Green Economy  site at http://www.unep.org/greeneconomy.

January 18, 2011

NRDC Report Reviews Tools for Effective Environmental Governance in India

Filed under: Asia, Chemicals & Waste, Compliance Training — Tags: — inece @ 6:45 pm

A new brief by NRDC reviews tools for effective environmental governance in India, with the goal of supporting Indian civil society and the Indian environment ministry in their work to improve India’s existing structures to enforce environmental laws, particularly in the context of pollution.

To access the information brief, visit  http://www.nrdc.org/international/india/files/governance-fs.pdf.

January 13, 2011

Vietnam Reports Increase in Environmental Violations

Filed under: Asia, Chemicals & Waste, Environmental Crime — Tags: — inece @ 8:57 am

An article in the Viet Nam news published on 10 January 2011 summarizes findings from a report on detections made by the environmental crime police in 2010.

The number of violations of environmental law increased by 43 per cent in 2010 compared to 2009, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

The Environmental Crime Prevention and Fighting Police Department said there were more than 6,500 violations of the Environmental Law nationwide, and 88 of them resulted in lawsuits.

Areas for concern highlighted in the article included discharged untreated wastewater and hazardous gas (22% of all violations), rubbish treatment dump areas, and the import of  industrial waste from other countries. The article reports that “[i]n Hai Phong alone, authorities have discovered hundreds of containers of imported garbage, including radioactive materials. Collection and transport, as well as illegal treatment of hazardous waste, such as old lead batteries, waste sludge and waste from metal ore, have occurred in some localities.”

The article reports that “total fines were more than VND52 billion (US$2.6 million)” and that “[a]ccording to department leaders, violators’ methods have become more and more sophisticated, causing difficulties in enforcement.”

The full article is available from the website of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment.

November 15, 2010

Joint WCO/UNEP Operation Nets Large Haul of Ozone Depleting Substances

Filed under: Africa, Asia, Chemicals & Waste, climate, Environmental Crime, Europe, seaports, UN System — Tags: — inece @ 9:27 pm

Click the logos above for the Project Sky-hole Patching Information Brochure (pdf)

A joint global Customs enforcement operation initiated by the World Customs Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and code-named “Sky-hole Patching II” led to the confiscation of more than 7,500 cylinders of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons), and other ozone depleting substances.

Totalling over 108 tonnes of ozone depleting substances (ODS) and 668 pieces of equipment containing ODS, each of these man-made chemicals is linked to the rapid depletion of the ozone layer and all have been either banned or subject to strict controls under the terms of the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer.

“This global operation by Customs in partnership with the WCO and UNEP which hauled in spectacular quantities of illegal ODS clearly demonstrates the success of this tripartite alliance against this dangerous trade and the organized criminal gangs who profit from it,” said Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the WCO. “We cannot allow goods that threaten the health and safety of world citizens, which contribute to global warming and inevitably to negative climate change, and which damage the environment – perhaps more far-reaching than what is estimated – to circulate the globe without taking serious action,” Mikuriya added. “I can only commend all those who took part in this project and urge Customs and their partners to continue their enforcement efforts to secure our borders from all forms of illegal and illicit trade,” concluded the Secretary General.

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February 25, 2010

New Global Campaign to Strengthen Synergies in Chemicals & Waste Management

Filed under: Chemicals & Waste — inece @ 11:37 am

The simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions was held in Bali, Indonesia, at the Bali International Convention Centre in, Nusa Dua, from 22 to 24 February 2010.

The convening of three independent treaty conferences simultaneously marked a historic departure for international environmental governance.

Parties to the three  treaties adopted a ground breaking framework for the achievement of coordination and cooperation at all levels between the legally separate instruments. The framework is expected to provide Parties, the secretariats and key partner organizations with a mechanism that will strengthen the impact of the work of the three conventions at all levels.

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