Switzerland urges more international efforts on hazardous waste

In the run-up to an international conference on hazardous waste in Switzerland, the Swiss authorities on Thursday praised international monitoring efforts but called for a swift transfer of disposal know-how to third world nations.

This content was published on November 25, 1999 - 17:29

In the run-up to an international conference on hazardous waste in Switzerland, the Swiss authorities on Thursday praised international monitoring efforts but called for a swift transfer of disposal know-how to third world nations.

The head of the Federal Environment Agency, Philippe Roch, praised the existing international monitoring of transports and disposals of dangerous substances but said that much still needed to be done.

It was for instance still very difficult to obtain reliable data on how much hazardous material is being produced worldwide each year, Roch told a news conference in the Swiss capital Berne. He said production was estimated at up to 400 tonnes each year.

More efforts must be taken to curb the production of such dangerous materials and the environmentally friendly disposal must be stepped up, Roch said.

Switzerland has been operating a special high-performance incinerator in Basel for years. Highly hazardous waste, such as dioxin and other polluting materials that made headlines in the 1980s, were eventually destroyed there after being dumped illegally abroad.

The Swiss authorities have also transferred their technological know-how to eastern Europe, where they support a hazardous waste disposal training centre in Bratislava, Slovakia.

The Swiss city of Geneva is the seat of the secretariat of the so-called Basel Convention, which aims to control international movements of hazardous waste, monitor and prevent illegal traffic and provide assistance for the environmentally sound management of the waste.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the convention, Switzerland and the U.N. Environment Programme will host a follow-up conference in Basel, starting December 6.

One of the aims of the conference will be to agree a resolution to improve the transfer of waste disposal know-how to developing nations.

From staff and wire reports.

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