Int'l meetings held in Geneva on human health, environment

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-30 10:46:35|Editor: Xiaoxia
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GENEVA, April 29 (Xinhua) -- Officials from around the world on Monday began negotiating about critical decisions to prevent impacts on human health and environment from plastic waste, electronic waste, and hazardous chemicals.

The Triple COPs (Conference of the Parties) meetings, involving the conferences of the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, will be held in Geneva from April 29 to May 10.

"Governments will have the opportunity to take historic and legally-binding decisions in these next two weeks, decisions which will result in practical steps to rid the world of marine plastic litter," said Rolph Payet, executive secretary of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for the three conventions.

He said at a UN press conference here that their decisions "will help stem the tide of electronic waste, to further protect our health and environment from some of the most toxic and hazardous chemicals in the world."

It is urgent to take action for a clean planet and people's health, said Payet.

Signed in 1989, the Basel Convention is the most comprehensive international environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes with 187 parties, according to UNEP.

The Rotterdam Convention aims to promote shared responsibilities in relation to importation of hazardous chemicals and pesticides, which is jointly administered by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UNEP.

Then the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is a treaty to protect human health and the environment from chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods. The legally-binding convention has 182 parties.

Payet said threats to human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and waste are omnipresent, well understood, and impossible to ignore.

Unsound management of chemicals and waste causes 1.6 million preventable deaths per year, according to a recent report by World Health Organization (WHO).

"The challenge will be to produce enough nutritious and healthy food without harming human health and the environment by hazardous pesticides," said Hans Dreyer, executive secretary of the FAO for the Rotterdam Convention.