Sweden among a few others, is fast becoming a leader in the global push to regulate poisonous chemicals and hazardous waste. The nation is pushing
for better waste management even in the face of several international conventions on hazardous chemicals. In a recent governmental release Sweden indicated its strong stance on hazardous waste and toxic chemicals.
The release cited a repot by the Lancet Commission which indicated that, “. . . pollution, including but not limited to chemicals, is one of the leading causes of death in the world. It is responsible for three times more deaths than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.” The release went on to indicate the ways in which low and middle-income economies are at greater risk for exposure and death due to inadequate facilities, disposal and safety measures.
The Lancet Commission was one of several international commissions on hazardous chemicals and waste that have been initiated since 1989. The first was the Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-Boundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and Their Disposal. The treaty commitments and management measures set forth in the convention were ratified in 1992. Since that time, the need to address new chemical and waste hazards have increased from pesticides to cosmetics.
Sweden is hoping to push chemical waste management into world conversation on sustainable development. In 2015, the United Nations issued its Global Goals for member countries in its Sustainable Development Summit aimed eradicating poverty, fighting inequality and injustice as well as addressing climate change by 2030. Addressing the growing threat of chemical and hazardous waste could contribute to accomplishing 9-10 of UN Goals which include, clean water and sanitation, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, and more.
Many are not aware of the harmful chemicals present in every day household goods, cosmetics, and other common-use products. Only recently was BPA identified as a harmful chemical used in the creation of plastics and other similar products. According to the release endorsed by officials from Switzerland, Zambia, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Finland and Norway, 150,000 new chemicals have been introduced since 1950. It may be that with the advent of new chemical advances and uses as well as the continued growth of the developing middle and low-income economies, the three major Conventions (Basel Convention, Rotterdam Convention, and Stockholm Convention) will need to be amended or advanced.