Supporting the ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment
Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister Environment and Climate Change Canada Ottawa
July 17, 2019
Dear Minister McKenna,
With this letter, we the undersigned call on you and the Canadian government to support the ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment, which prohibits developed countries like Canada from exporting their hazardous wastes to developing countries. The amendment is supported by the African group of countries and many other developing countries, as well as by the European Union. Indeed, the ratification by only two more countries from the 90 countries that were present at the time of its adoption in 1995 is needed for the Basel Ban Amendment to come into effect.
One of the primary objectives of the Basel Convention is to have countries take responsibility for their own wastes in their own country and, in particular, stop the practice of exporting their wastes to developing countries. A recent survey showed that
Canadians overwhelmingly support this goal and say Canada should manage and dispose of its own waste and recycling. Only 18% said Canada should be able to export waste and recycling overseas and 79% supported what the Basel Ban Amendment would require.
At the Basel Convention’s 14th Conference of the Parties in Geneva in May this year, delegates approved a decision calling on countries to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment. Canada stayed silent, but continues to oppose the amendment, saying Canada “won’t support a prohibition on the export of recyclables.”
Shipping our wastes half-way around the world, allegedly for recycling, to countries that are already deluged with wastes, is, as Canada well knows, a practice that is readily abused. It is a practice that is neither environmentally responsible nor just.
We call on you to show the environmental leadership that Prime Minister Trudeau promised and support the ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment at the earliest possible date.
We urgently await your response.
Kathleen Ruff, Director
Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director and Counsel
Canadian Environmental Law Association
Jim Puckett, Founder/Director
Basel Action Network
Tadesse Amera, PhD
IPEN Co-Chair, Pesticide Action Nexus, Ethiopia
Sarah King, Head of Oceans & Plastics campaign
Beatrice Olivastri, CEO
Friends of the Earth Canada
Heather Marshall, Campaigns Director
Toronto Environmental Alliance