Recognition of Bahrain at Basel convention
13-May-2017


The Kingdom of Bahrain has been honored as the first Gulf, Arab and Asian country to comply with the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes, on the sidelines of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, held lately in Geneva, Switzerland. The recognition was given in the presence of H.E. Dr. Mohammed Mubarak Bin Daina, Chief Executive of the Supreme Council for the Environment (SCE).

The Kingdom of Bahrain was honored along with nine other countries that have shown their commitment to the Convention during the “Basel Convention Secretariat for the Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes”. Other countries include Argentina, Australia, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and South Africa. Bahrain is the only GCC, Arab and Asian country to be recognized at the event.

H.E. Dr. Mohammed Mubarak bin Daina, in a seminar discussed the Kingdom of Bahrain’s experience and progress in hazardous waste management. H.E. mentioned that the SCE is working as the focal point for the Convention and is keen to present the highest degree of compliance with the agreement and all other international agreements in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Personal Representative of His Majesty the King, Chairman of the Supreme Council for the Environment, which stems from the keenness of the wise leadership to strengthen the commitment of the Kingdom of Bahrain to international agreements and contractual treaties.

H.E. Dr. Mohammed Mubarak bin Daina said during the seminar that compliance with the agreement strengthened the capabilities of the Supreme Council for the Environment in monitoring the current state of waste management, and auditing all aspects related to it. It enabled the setting of priorities in the area of its management through the reduction and minimization of waste, change or improvement of processes, technologies, enhancing reuse, recycling and treatment practices as well as taking the necessary measures that limit and contain the generation of waste. The country is now preparing an integrated national strategy for the management of different types of waste generated in the country including industrial waste, municipal waste, healthcare waste etc. in coordination with the relevant government agencies and in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Program.

The Kingdom of Bahrain is one of the first countries to ratify and sign the Basel Convention on Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes in 1992.

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, usually known as the Basel Convention, is an international treaty that was designed to regulate and manage the movements of hazardous waste between countries, and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries (LDCs). The Convention is also intended to minimize the amount and toxicity of wastes generated, to ensure their environmentally sound management as closely as possible to the source of generation, and to assist LDCs in environmentally sound management of the hazardous and other wastes they generate.

The Basel Convention was opened for signature on 22 March 1989, and entered into force on 5 May 1992. So far more than 184 countries are parties to the Convention. The Convention regulates and control identification and assessment of hazardous waste, its movement from different states via land routes, water transport or by air. The procedure include preparing and submitting necessary notification forms whereby approval for movement is given by Basel Convention competent authority in each country which is usually the Ministry of Environment. The importer and exporter of waste assume full responsibility of this waste movement as per sound environmental practices and that this hazardous waste is not disposed or dumped at any location causing adverse impacts to the public health and environmental resources.   

Due to the implementation of Basel Convention, the movement of hazardous waste has been legalized, controlled and illegal dumping has been restricted and minimized. In addition, the LDC are saved where otherwise the hazardous waste form developed countries were being dumped. 

While the country is working towards meeting the challenges of waste management, we need to be vigilant in properly disposing any hazardous waste as per local regulations and to the designated facilities in the country. 

 

* Head of Waste Disposal Unit, Supreme Council for Environment, Bahrain. (Email: rahmed@sce.gov.bh) 

 

(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of this newspaper.)

 


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