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Natural packaging to fight plastic pollution: pilot project launched in Ghana
The pilot on natural packaging is part of an ongoing project on plastic waste, funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, and implemented by Ghana’s Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, and the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, in cooperation with the Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for the Africa Region. The food and water packaging solutions are manufactured by Notpla.

Natural packaging to fight plastic pollution: pilot project launched in Ghana

Natural packaging to fight plastic pollution: pilot project launched in Ghana

A pilot to introduce natural packaging and reduce the use of single-use plastic has been successfully launched in Accra, Ghana. Over the next months, seaweed-based takeaway boxes and edible water sachets will be offered at five canteens and shops on the University of Ghana campus. This initiative aims to demonstrate the potential of plastic-free packaging as a sustainable alternative to single-use packaging, and pave the way for a more widespread use of natural packaging, not only in Ghana, but also in other countries.

The two plastic-free packaging solutions being tested are:

  • an edible water sachet called ‘Ooho’ for hydration on the go, which seeks to reduce the widespread use of plastic sachets; and
  • a takeaway food container that has many of the same grease and water-resistant qualities as traditional coatings.

Produced by the sustainable packaging start-up Notpla, which was recently awarded an Earthshot Prize, both seaweed-based packaging solutions are rendered completely compostable and biodegradable within six to eight weeks.

“This initiative is a real-world illustration of the waste hierarchy: it is less costly, more efficient and more sustainable to prevent waste in the first place, instead of generating and subsequently managing it,” remarked Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions.

As revealed by the national plastic waste inventory developed under the project, Ghana generates an estimated 900,000 tonnes of municipal plastic waste per year, almost half of which is not collected, but instead is typically burnt, dumped or buried. Therefore, it is clear that solutions focusing on the prevention and minimization of plastic waste serve as a critical pillar in the reduction of plastic waste in Ghana, which needs to be managed in an environmentally sound manner.

The pilot on natural packaging is part of an ongoing project on plastic waste, funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, and implemented by Ghana’s Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, and the BRS Secretariat, in cooperation with the Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for the Africa Region. Other activities implemented under the project include a pilot on reusable bags, a collection and recycling scheme for plastic fishing nets, a beach cleanup and citizen science survey, the training of plastic waste recyclers to minimize releases of microplastics, and the development of recommendations on legal matters and the environmentally sound management of plastic waste.

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the only global legally binding instrument that currently and specifically addresses plastic waste. In 2019, the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention adopted the Plastic Waste Amendments. Effective as of 1 January 2021, the Amendments aim to ensure that transboundary movements of plastic waste are more transparent and better regulated. In addition, the Basel Convention Parties are legally bound under the Amendments to take steps to ensure that plastic waste is managed in environmentally sound ways within their territories, and that plastic waste generation is prevented and minimized.

NOTES for EDITORS

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions brings together the three leading multilateral environmental agreements that share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes.

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal aims to protect people and the environment from the negative effects of the environmentally unsound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes worldwide.

Marine litter and microplastics: promoting the environmentally sound management of plastic waste and achieving the prevention and minimization of the generation of plastic waste (BRS-Norad-1) is financed by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). The programme seeks to prevent and significantly reduce marine litter and microplastics by strengthening capacity in Ghana and Sri Lanka, at the regional and global levels.

Contacts:

For technical questions on the natural packaging pilot: Jost Dittkrist, BRS Programme Officer jost.dittkrist@un.org.
For media inquiries: Marisofi Giannouli, BRS Associate Public Information officer, marisofi.giannouli@un.org.

Photo album

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Apply for a side event at the 2023 BRS COPs!
All side events will be held during lunch breaks and in the evenings. The deadline for applications is 1 March 2023.

Apply for a side event at the 2023 BRS COPs!

Apply for a side event at the 2023 BRS COPs!
 
Winners of our e-waste storytelling competition announced!
Participants were invited to share anecdotes of cherished electric and electronic devices they should have disposed of in an environmentally sound manner.

Winners of our e-waste storytelling competition announced!

Winners of our e-waste storytelling competition announced!
 
Happy holidays and a prosperous 2023!

Happy holidays and a prosperous 2023!

Happy holidays and a prosperous 2023!
 
Operation DEMETER VIII successfully completed
Enforced by the Basel Convention and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the DEMETER operations have been taking place since 2009, with the aim of tackling transboundary trafficking in waste and ozone depleting substances, through the enhanced cooperation between customs and environmental authorities.

Operation DEMETER VIII successfully completed

Operation DEMETER VIII successfully completed
 
5th meeting of the Expert Working Group on the review of Annexes to the Basel Convention
Convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 5 to 7 December 2022, the hybrid meeting marked the completion of a set of revised recommendations pertaining to the review of hazardous wastes under the Basel Convention.

5th meeting of the Expert Working Group on the review of Annexes to the Basel Convention

5th meeting of the Expert Working Group on the review of Annexes to the Basel Convention
 
International Mountain Day 2022: do you know how much plastic is on our mountain peaks?
The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions launches the Plastic Waste on the Peak storymap to raise awareness of plastic pollution in remote and mountainous areas.

International Mountain Day 2022: do you know how much plastic is on our mountain peaks?

International Mountain Day 2022: do you know how much plastic is on our mountain peaks?
 
Read it - Play it - Own it
The #PlasticIsForever social media challenge has been launched on Tik Tok. Share your score with us to win a hard copy of the Plastic is Forever photography book.

Read it - Play it - Own it

Read it - Play it - Own it
 
Heart of international action to address plastic pollution beats in South America
Representatives from 120 countries, industry and civil society meet under the Basel Convention’s Plastic Waste Partnership in Uruguay, ahead of the inaugural session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.

Heart of international action to address plastic pollution beats in South America

Heart of international action to address plastic pollution beats in South America
 
Basel COP Bureau meeting report now available
The meeting took place in Geneva, Switzerland, on 11 October 2022.

Basel COP Bureau meeting report now available

Basel COP Bureau meeting report now available
 
The digital version of the Plastic is Forever coffee table book has been launched!
On the occasion of the 3rd Plastic Waste Partnership meeting in Uruguay, a digital version of a photography book has been launched, featuring the finalist entries of the Plastic is Forever competition.

The digital version of the Plastic is Forever coffee table book has been launched!

The digital version of the Plastic is Forever coffee table book has been launched!
 
The Compliance Committees of the Basel and Rotterdam Conventions meet back-to-back and hold a landmark joint session
The Basel Convention Implementation and Compliance Committee held a landmark joint session with the Rotterdam Convention Compliance Committee, and successfully completed its fifteenth meeting on 18 November 2022.

The Compliance Committees of the Basel and Rotterdam Conventions meet back-to-back and hold a landmark joint session

The Compliance Committees of the Basel and Rotterdam Conventions meet back-to-back and hold a landmark joint session

The Basel Convention Implementation and Compliance Committee held a landmark joint session with the Rotterdam Convention Compliance Committee, and successfully completed its fifteenth meeting on 18 November 2022, having helped eight Parties make progress with the resolution of their implementation and compliance difficulties, and brought to the Basel Conference of the Parties a range of recommendations on how to improve compliance with key obligations under the Convention.

Over a four-day marathon meeting, the Committee engaged with eight Parties facing implementation and compliance difficulties with key obligations under the Convention, to transmit national reports and to develop adequate legislation. Rich discussions, which took place with representatives of Central African Republic, Cook Islands, Mauritania, Syrian Arab Republic and Togo, concluded in the resolution of long-lasting compliance difficulties to transmit national reports faced by Liberia.

Expressing his satisfaction with the progress achieved, the Chair of the Committee, Mr. Florisvindo Furtado (Cabo Verde) said that “It is because of such concrete outcomes that I call the Basel Convention the ‘Beautiful Convention’, successful in its efforts to make the world a better place, where people and the environment are free from waste pollution. "

The Committee also tackled head-on compliance challenges with a series of core obligations under the Convention. It continued its meticulous work of classifying Parties compliance performance with their national reporting obligation, and preliminarily concluded that, for the first time ever, Parties have reached the target set by the Basel Conference of the Parties for transmitting reports complete and on time. The Committee also considered the outcome of the self-review of their legislation undertaken by 49 Parties, as well as how to help 23 Parties that have not provided information on whether they have legislation to implement the Convention, or indicated that they do not have such legislation in place. Preventing and combating illegal traffic was also central to the work of the Committee, with the identification of lessons from its second report on scoping the extent of illegal traffic in hazardous wastes and other wastes.

“I am particularly heartened by the commitment of the Committee to engage with United Nations Resident Coordinators and country teams towards embedding the implementation of the Convention in the broader context of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”, noted the Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, Mr Rolph Payet. He went on to underscore the importance of the work carried out by the Committee, noting that the implementation of the Basel Convention cannot and should not take place in a silo, as the scope of the wastes covered by the Convention and the extent of the obligations embedded therein require the engagement of a vast number of sectors and stakeholders at the national level.

The outcomes of the Committee will be considered by the sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties which will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1 to 12 May 2023.

Participating in the meeting as an Observer on behalf of the Netherlands, Mr. Reginald Hernaus, who is also President of the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties, expressed his appreciation for the progress achieved, saying “I was impressed by the work carried out by the Committee and it was indeed an eye-opener for me to see all Members in action”. Referring to the landmark joint session with the first meeting of the Compliance Committee of the Rotterdam Convention, he added: “I am very pleased to see that, by working together, the Committees can enrich each others’ experiences and strengthen their respective contributions to the successful implementation of the Conventions.”

The work of the Basel Convention Implementation and Compliance Committee benefits from generous financial support provided by Japan, Norway and Switzerland.

NOTES

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the most comprehensive international environment treaty on hazardous and other wastes and is almost universal, with 189 Parties. With an overarching objective of protecting human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes, its scope covers a wide range of wastes defined as hazardous based on their origin and/or composition and characteristics, as well as three types of waste defined as “other wastes”, namely household waste, residues arising from the incineration of household wastes ash and certain plastic wastes requiring special consideration.

The Basel Convention Implementation and Compliance Committee is mandated to assist Parties to comply with their obligations under the Convention and to facilitate, promote, monitor and aim to secure the implementation of and compliance with the obligations under the Convention.

The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade is jointly administered by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The 165 Parties to this legally-binding Convention share responsibility and cooperate to safely manage chemicals in international trade. To date, 56 hazardous chemicals and pesticides are listed in its Annex III, making their international trade subject to a prior informed consent (PIC) procedure.

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, or BRS Secretariat, supports Parties implement the three leading multilateral environment agreements governing chemicals and waste management, in order to protect human health and the environment.

For questions on the Basel Convention Implementation and Compliance Committee, contact
BRS Secretariat Senior Legal Officer and Head of the Legal and Policy Unit, Juliette Voinov Kohler, juliette.kohler@un.org.

For media enquiries, interviews, & more information, contact:
BRS Associate Public Information Officer, Marisofi Giannouli, marisofi.giannouli@un.org.

Workshop on illegal traffic and trade of hazardous chemicals and wastes for English-speaking countries in West Africa
Held in Lagos, Nigeria, the workshop marked the first face-to-face event coorganised by the BRS Secretariat and UNODC on national legal frameworks, illegal traffic and trade, and crimes that affect the environment.

Workshop on illegal traffic and trade of hazardous chemicals and wastes for English-speaking countries in West Africa

Workshop on illegal traffic and trade of hazardous chemicals and wastes for English-speaking countries in West Africa
 
Clock is ticking for 2021 national reports submissions!
Basel Convention Parties are to submit their annual national reports by 31 December 2022, using the electronic reporting system.

Clock is ticking for 2021 national reports submissions!

Clock is ticking for 2021 national reports submissions!
 
2023 Basel COP provisional agenda now available
Invitation letters to the 2023 BRS COPs have been sent out to Parties.

2023 Basel COP provisional agenda now available

2023 Basel COP provisional agenda now available
 
Basel Convention Implementation and Compliance Committee meets for the 15th time
The meeting will be held in Geneva, Switzerland from 14 to 17 November 2022, and it will address a number of specific submissions to support Basel Convention Parties.

Basel Convention Implementation and Compliance Committee meets for the 15th time

Basel Convention Implementation and Compliance Committee meets for the 15th time
 
Join the PWP webinar to learn more about the Partnership’s pilot projects programme!
On 23 November 2022, during the 3rd Plastic Waste Partnership meeting, the Partnership will host a webinar to provide insights from the field about its pilot projects.

Join the PWP webinar to learn more about the Partnership’s pilot projects programme!

Join the PWP webinar to learn more about the Partnership’s pilot projects programme!
 
UN agencies at COP27 urge action to tackle impact of plastic waste on climate
The event was co-organised by the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

UN agencies at COP27 urge action to tackle impact of plastic waste on climate

UN agencies at COP27 urge action to tackle impact of plastic waste on climate
 
Basel and Stockholm Convention Regional Centres meet in Geneva
The annual joint meeting of the Regional Centres under the Basel and the Stockholm Conventions is taking place from 7 to 9 November 2022.

Basel and Stockholm Convention Regional Centres meet in Geneva

Basel and Stockholm Convention Regional Centres meet in Geneva
 
Submit your stories for our e-waste competition by 14 November 2022!
The top three stories will be announced in December 2022 and will be adapted into animated videos premiering during the 2023 Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (2023 BRS COPs), which will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, in May 2023.

Submit your stories for our e-waste competition by 14 November 2022!

Submit your stories for our e-waste competition by 14 November 2022!
 
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