A striking increase in waste generation caused by rapid economic growth and globalisation over the past decades was accompanied by an increase in global waste trade. Waste has economic value and can provide a useful replacement of natural resources in multiple industries if properly managed. Several countries however are unable to manage all types of waste in an environmentally sound manner due to various limitations hence the need to enable a system for shipments of waste. This is the case of Malta, which insularity and limited resources present a considerable challenge to treat wastes locally in an environmentally sound and efficient manner.
A comprehensive supervision and control system has first been introduced globally by the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. The Convention, which is the most comprehensive global environmental treaty on waste, was adopted on 22 March 1989 in Basel (Switzerland). Malta ratified the Basel Convention through the deposit of its instrument of accession on 19 June 2000.
The cornerstone of the control regime established under the Convention is the Prior Informed Consent procedure, whereby all countries involved in a planned transboundary movement are duly informed and have to provide their written consent before that movement of waste is allowed to start.
The Convention applies to:
- The hazardous wastes listed in Annexes I and VIII;
- The “Other Wastes” listed in Annex II; and
- Wastes considered to be hazardous under Parties’ national legislation.
The Convention does not apply to the non-hazardous, “green” waste categories listed in Annex IX.
In 1995, the Parties to the Convention agreed to ban any exports of hazardous wastes from those Parties that are members of the EU, OECD, and Liechtenstein to all other Parties to the Convention (Basel Convention Ban Amendment). Malta accepted the Ban Amendment on 12 December 2011.
The provisions of the Basel Convention and the OECD Decision C(2001)107/FINAL on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Wastes Destined for Recovery Operations are implemented in the European Union via Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 on shipments of waste. The Waste Shipment Regulation applies to:
- Shipments of wastes taking place within the EU or with transit through third parties;
- Imports into the EU from third parties;
- Exports from the EU to third parties; and
- Shipments transiting through the EU.
The Waste Shipment Regulation establishes different control regimes on shipments of wastes, depending on the origin, destination & route of the shipment, the nature (e.g. hazardous, “green-listed” non-hazardous) as well as the intended fate of the waste shipped (disposal or recovery).
The two main procedures for shipments of waste established under the Waste Shipment Regulation are:
- Prior written notification and consent (Article 4), which generally applies to all wastes destined for disposal and hazardous wastes destined for recovery; and
- General information requirements (Article 18 and Annex VII), which generally applies to shipments of green-listed wastes destined for recovery.
Exports destined for recovery of certain green-listed wastes to certain non-OECD Countries are also subject to Commission Regulation (EC) No 1418/2007.
The Waste Shipment Regulation also includes a ban on the export for recovery of hazardous wastes and Basel Convention “Other Wastes” to non-OECD countries (Basel Convention Ban Amendment) as well as a ban on any export of waste destined for disposal from the EU.
The EU Waste Shipment Regulation is implemented in Malta by S.L. 549.65, the Waste Management (Shipment of Waste) Regulations as published by Legal Notice 285 of 2011, which designate the Environment & Resources Authority as the national Competent Authority for the control regime on shipments of waste.
S.L. 549.65 prohibits all imports of waste destined for disposal into Malta.
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