Statement delivered by Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Rejoice Mabudafhasi during the Commission on Sustainable Development 19 Ministerial roundtable three, United Nations Headquarters, New York
12 May 2011
Theme: Moving towards zero waste and sound management of chemicals
South Africa has taken a number of actions to promote environmental sound management of chemicals and waste, including being a party to Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEA) on chemicals and waste.
In an effort towards aligning fragmented legislation, we have established a National Multi-stakeholder Committee for Chemicals Management to facilitate co-ordination. We are in the process of finalising the National Industrial Participation (NIP) of Stockholm convention with intention to submit in 2011.
We have developed national waste legislation that adopts the waste management hierarchy which focuses on waste avoidance, reduce, reuse, and recycle while recovery of materials, energy and disposal should be considered as the last option. The benefits of reusing, recycling and recovering waste are manifested by the reduction of the amount of virgin resources that need to be harvested and processed for the manufacture of new products and the creation of job opportunities for communities.
However there are challenges that need to be resolved that include:
a) The limited capacity to do comprehensive risk assessment; more so as the possible impact on human and environmental health of most hazardous chemicals is least understood in the developing world.
b) The implementation of the Globally Harmonised System of classification and labelling of chemicals would fast track the environmental sound management of chemicals. We believe it is crucial that information is made available to all users of chemicals, communities and policy makers to improve knowledge and awareness of the risks posed by chemicals.
c) Notwithstanding the development of a few facilities in South Africa to dispose of hazardous waste in an environmentally sound manner, the demand for treatment facilities remains a huge challenge in particular with the region depending on South Africa.
d) South Africa joins other countries that have called for a stop in the illegal trafficking of chemicals and hazardous waste. In particular, the transboundary movement of e-waste and near end of life goods has become a major problem that needs urgent attention.
To address these challenges, there is a greater need for technology transfer, technical expertise, financial support and capacity building to enable countries, especially developing countries to make informed decisions as early as possible in life cycle management of hazardous chemicals and waste.
There is need for a significant increase of existing, new and additional financial resources to enable developing countries to meet their obligations and enhance their capacity on environmentalsound management of hazardous chemicals and waste.
There is need for multinational industries in developing countries to maintain same standards of operations as in developed countries, including, installing safer and cleaner technologies to prevent pollution.
It is also important to institute take-back options for e-waste and for other products that result the generation of waste in line with extended producer responsibility principles. This will advance the polluter pays principle which gives the responsibility of dealing with waste management to industry.
I thank you.
Source: Department of Environmental Affairs
Issued by: Department of Environmental Affairs
12 May 2011
[ Top ]