Developing world no longer a plastic dumping ground, says WWF | WWF

Developing world no longer a plastic dumping ground, says WWF

Posted on
10 May 2019

Responding to today’s decision by the world’s environment ministers at the 14th Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (COP14) in Geneva to include certain types of mixed and contaminated plastic waste in the Basel convention control measures, Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International said:


“For far too long, we have relied on waste disposal to deal with our increasing addiction to single-use plastic. It is time to get real, smarter and more efficient. Wealthy countries have abdicated responsibility for enormous quantities of plastic waste by using the developing world as a dumping ground. Developing economies have grown their own domestic plastic consumption without adequate collection and waste management systems. With the capacity to process this waste not in place, it is time for regulation and behavioral change to step up  reduction, recyclability and collection in order to stop spreading and accelerating plastic pollution across the globe.


“Today’s decision is a highly welcome step towards redressing this imbalance and restoring a measure of accountability to the global plastic waste management system. However, it only goes part of the way. What we - and the planet - need is a comprehensive treaty to tackle the global plastic crisis.”


The decision comes after proposals by Norway, EU and China to list plastic waste as a material that requires special consideration for it to be traded between countries. The final decision means contaminated and most mixes of plastic wastes will require prior consent from receiving countries before they get traded, with the notable exceptions of mixes of PE, PP and PET.


WWF is calling for countries to urgently agree a global legally binding treaty covering every stage of the plastic lifecycle and ensuring governments, businesses and individuals are held fully accountable for the plastic they the produce, consume and dispose of. More than 460 000 people around the world have signed a WWF petition urging their governments to take action on the plastic pollution crisis.


The Basel Convention is responsible for ‘controlling the Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal". COP14 takes place from 29 April - 10 May 2019.