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Ban on hazardous waste shipments agreed

An international conference has approved a Swiss-Indonesian proposal to ban hazardous waste shipments to developing countries.

The Federal Environment Office hailed the decision, taken by the signatories to the Basel Convention at a week-long meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, as a major success.

The proposal, launched three years ago, will allow the implementation of a 1995 amendment to prevent the 34 advanced industrialised countries from shipping toxic waste to developing countries unless they have adequate waste management facilities.

The regulation is likely to take effect within 24 months according to Franz Perrez, leader of the Swiss delegation in Cartagena.

To date only 70 of the more than 170 parties to the Basel Convention have ratified the amendment, short of the three-quarter required.

The conference also approved a Swiss initiative to boost cooperation for sustainable management of electronic waste, including disused computers.

The convention was founded in 1989 and has its headquarters in Geneva. and agencies

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