Basel Convention

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was adopted on 22 March 1989 by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries which was convened at Basel, Switzerland, from 20 to 22 March 1989.
The Basel Convention establishes a framework of control over the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and was promulgated in response to numerous international scandals regarding hazardous waste trafficking that began to occur in the late 1980s.
The Basel Convention places a responsibility on exporting countries to ensure that any hazardous wastes being exported shall be treated in an environmentally sound manner in the importing country, and that the importing country is aware that the hazardous wastes are being imported and which facilities are receiving the materials.
The Basel Convention also requires that countries dispose of their own hazardous wastes where possible, and ensure that the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes is reduced to the minimum amounts consistent with the environmentally sound and efficient management of such wastes.
The Basel Convention entered into force on 5 May 1992 and today has its Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. This introductory text to the Basel Convention contains general information about the origins of the Convention, its goals as well as milestones in the Convention's history.
For an up-to-date list of the Parties to the Basel Convention click here.
Malta has ratified the Basel Convention through the deposit of its instrument of accession on 19 June 2000 and its obligations under the Convention are implemented by the Environment Protection (Control of Transboundary Movement of Toxic and other Substances) Regulations, 2000, as published by Legal Notice 205 of 2000, which are presently in force. The Environment and Resources Authority is the Competent Authority under those regulations.
The text of the Basel Convention includes the following annexes:
  • Annex I:     Categories of Wastes to be controlled (Y-codes 1..45)
  • Annex II:    Categories of Wastes requiring special consideration (Y-codes 46..47)
  • Annex III:   List of Hazardous Characteristics (H codes)
  • Annex IV:    Disposal [& recovery] operations (R/D codes)
  • Annex VIII:  List A - Wastes covered by Article 1, paragraph 1 (a)
  • Annex IX:    List B - Wastes not covered by Article 1, paragraph 1 (a)