Toxic and Hazardous Waste

Capacity Development Key to Stopping Illegal Trade in Hazardous and Electronic Waste

Date posted: 
Dec 7 2012

Building capacity among environmental and customs officials for detecting illegal transboundary shipments of hazardous and electronic wastes was the focus of the Second International Hazardous Waste Inspection Project. 11 countries participated in the Project, which was convened by the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) Seaport Environmental Security Network (SESN).

Sharing of Innovation on Pollution and Recycling: The Case of Eco-Patent Commons

Date posted: 
Nov 29 2009

Technologies that promote pollution control and prevention, recycling, and energy efficiency have already been developed by many industries and companies. These technologies and practices were products of the research and development efforts by industries. There are benefits to be derived from sharing of these technologies. However, some of these technologies are considered to contribute to the competitive advantage of companies.

Responsible Party: 
Regulated Community
I. Objectives or Impact: 

Various technologies and practices to protect the environment have already been developed in many countries. These practices include energy conservation via improved energy efficiency, pollution prevention, and recycling. Interestingly, these practices have shown to be effective and in fact are embraced by the private sector. One of the barriers though is that these practices are considered to be a private asset. Companies may not be willing to share these technologies so as to preserve competitive advantage in terms of cost efficiency. Given this scenario, other countries or companies would not be able to access these successful and deemed effective technologies. However, it is recognized that certain patents on environment practices may not be a source of competitive advantage. These technologies can create greater benefits if recognized as a “common commodity”. Innovation, similar to that attained in the open source technology market, may be had if such commodity is accessible to other parties. The practice aims at encouraging various forms of innovations that will improve efficient use of resources in producing manufactured commodities. Innovations geared towards proper disposal of wastes are also encouraged.

II. Description of the Good Practice (Outputs): 

The Eco-Patent Common was conceived in Switzerland and New York by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Its aim is to make certain technologies accessible to potential users, specifically those who would not be able to afford royalty payments. The identified “commons” will be in a searchable website hosted by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). It will be dependent on pledges made by participating companies. Practices that can be pledged would be those pertaining to (1) energy conservation, (2) pollution prevention, (3) use of environmentally preferable inputs and materials, (4) materials reduction, and (5) recycling.

Currently, the WBCSD brings together 200 international companies with a common commitment of pushing for sustainable development though the sharing of good technologies and disposal practices.  Members are drawn from 30 countries and 20 industrial sectors. 

 

III. Outcomes or Results: 

The establishment of the Eco-Patent Common is expected to benefit both the contributors and the users. Participation in the Eco-Patent will likely produce global recognition for businesses pursuing activities and innovations geared towards sustainable development. At the same time, by making a practice or technology accessible, it can be a catalyst for further innovation by other users. Also, as opposed to making the innovation public or open to all, the eco-patent would still give the contributor a certain amount of control. The contributor can terminate use if users will assert patents against the contributor. As of date, various companies pledged to support the Eco-Patent Commons. IBM, Nokia, and Sony were among the first group of companies that gave commitment to the Eco-Patent Commons. Recently, Xerox, DuPont, and Bosch pledged their support to the endeavor. The newly pledged patents include technology that converts non-recyclable plastics into fertilizers, automotive technologies that would enable efficient fuel consumption, and technologies that enable recycling of optical discs.

A. Policy Framework: 

Laws of participating countries need to be harmonized to jointly recognize the possibility of participating in the Eco-Patent endeavor. Agreements, especially between private sector contributors and users, pertaining to use, scope, termination, and other conditions of use need to be spelled out clearly.

B. Budgetary and Financial Requirements: 

(not applicable)

C. Human Resources: 

In promoting this endeavor, various expertise would be required. In particular, an over-all body composed of experts from various fields need to be established. Particularly, experts on international law and Intellectual Property Rights might be needed.

D. Material Resources: 

The entire system might also be information-intensive. A sole unit devoted to collecting, cataloguing, disseminating, and monitoring the flow of technology contributions need to be established.

E. Institutional Support: 

The endeavor was made possible due to the support and commitment extended by the private sector. With novel technologies, financial support from the government might also be required. This endeavor will also be heavy on government involvement, since laws on IPR and patents need to be harmonized. Inputs and linkage with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) might be required

F. Planning, Scheduling or Sequencing of Activities: 

(not applicable)

V. Further Information: 

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (www.wbcsd.org)

On-line Posting of the Transporter Capabilities in the Philippines

Date posted: 
Nov 13 2008

The main objective is to drive out of business unscrupulous Toxic and Hazardous Wastes (THW) transporters with fake or expired licenses.

Responsible Party: 
Enforcement Agency
I. Objectives or Impact: 

The main objective is to drive out of business unscrupulous Toxic and Hazardous Wastes (THW) transporters with fake or expired licenses.

Sector/subsector:

The good practice addresses the transport and movement of THW, minimize potential accidents from THW, and reduce the quantity of illegally dumped in the environment, and discourage illegal recovery and re-use of dumped THW.

II. Description of the Good Practice (Outputs): 

Transporters of THW are required to undergo training on the documentation, emergency procedures and impacts of various THW on human health and the environment. The trucks for hauling must be provided with first aid facilities, equipment and chemicals necessary for clean up in case of emergencies, and special signage identifying the type, quantity, nature , first aid and emergency procedures. Due to stringent licensing requirements, a number of THW transporters with fake or expired licenses proliferate in the market THW transporters with fake manifest are also common.

The capability of THW transporters, the expiration dates, truck fleet, licensed drivers and personnel are posted in the internet. The administrative procedure was also revised, putting on the THW the responsibility of consulting the Environment Management Bureau website to check the validity of the THW transporter license , the capabilities and limitations imposed on the license and the responsible person to contact to prevent third parties from using another transporter’s license. The THW generator is equally responsible with the illegal THW transporter.

III. Outcomes or Results: 

Within 30 days after the new regulations and website was available, more than 100 new applications or renewal of THW transporter license were received and an unknown number of illegal transporter went out of business.

IV. Essential Elements for Success: 

Policy Framework: Enabling Policy, Regulation, Inter-agency/Multiparty Agreements

The Administrative Order governing the responsibility of the THW generator during transport was modified to make them equally responsible if the THW transporter is unlicensed. Prior to this amendment, the THW generator could claim that he had been tricked into believing that the THW transporter is duly licensed and even goes to provide a copy of the fake license provided by the transporter with the authority to transport the THW. An additional copy of theTHW transporter permit is submitted to the IT unit for posting in the webpage.

Human Resources and Skills

The main personnel skill required is knowledge to update the webpage periodically.
Material and Resources

Computer, webpage and server.

Institutional Support

The server was provided by a World Bank grant.

V. Further Information: 

References and Publications:

Revised guidelines for the licensing of THW transporters
http://www.emb.gov.ph

Tracking of Toxic and Hazardous Waste (THW) Movement in the Philippines

Date posted: 
Nov 13 2008

The movement of THW is controlled by a manifest system that was developed in 1993. This is the time when the information technology revolution was just starting. The objective of the practice is to upgrade the manifest system used in tracking the THW movement by means of the electronic mail system.

Responsible Party: 
Enforcement Agency
I. Objectives or Impact: 

The movement of THW is controlled by a manifest system that was developed in 1993. This is the time when the information technology revolution was just starting. The objective of the practice is to upgrade the manifest system used in tracking the THW movement by means of the electronic mail system.

Sector/subsector:

The practice covers THW from the generation, transport and acceptance at the THW treatment and/or storage facility.

II. Description of the Good Practice (Outputs): 

The previous practice requires the THW transporter to apply for authority to move the wastes from the generator to the THW storage and/or treatment facility. Manifest form is issued with the authority to transport; designating the route and approximate time it will pass a particular route and acceptance by the THW storage and/or treatment facility. The THW transporter mails the acceptance by the THW storage and/or treatment facility and declaration on the route used and time. Given the previous practice, the filled forms sometimes arrive at the regional office one month after posting, especially if the regional office and the THW storage and/or disposal facility is not served by regular air carrier. By the time it reaches the regional offices, the manifest has lost it purpose unless there was an accident or the THW facility was caught disposing improperly disposing the wastes.

With the new practice, the manifest is encoded electronically and the THW transporter submits the manifest electronically within 48 hours after the expected delivery of the THW. If the THW transporter does not report within 48 hours, its license is considered to be under review and properly reflected in the environmental management webpage for accredited THW transporter. Automatically, a message is transmitted for the THW storage and/or disposal facility to acknowledge having received the particular wastes and undertaking to notify the regional of its disposal, treatment, export or storage.

III. Outcomes or Results: 

The electronic reporting provides timely tracking of the THW movement and prevents the illegal disposal by THW transporter of the wastes or diversion of the wastes to unauthorized THW storage and/or treatment facility especially for THW with potent reuse and recover value.

IV. Essential Elements for Success: 

Policy Framework: Enabling Policy, Regulation, Inter-agency/Multiparty Agreements

The administrative order governing the transport, manifest system and movement of THW has to be modified to incorporate the electronic reporting of the movement of THW as well as the penalty for late reporting, potential lose of customer when the license are considered under review for late reporting.

Human Resources and Skills

The practice requires a data encoder to update the status of the manifest and a website manager to authorize the posting of THW transporter license for late reporting.

Material and Resources

The practice requires a server, computers , internet connection, and software.

Institutional Support

The software was developed under a UNDP grant and the server was provided by the World Bank grant.

V. Further Information: 

References and Publications:

Monitoring Persistent Organic Pollutants in the Philippines

Date posted: 
Nov 13 2008

A number of persistent organic chemicals are used in industries. However, laboratories in developing countries normally do not have the facilities to analyze the pollutants created by these organic chemicals.

Responsible Party: 
Enforcement Agency
I. Objectives or Impact: 

A number of persistent organic chemicals are used in industries. However, laboratories in developing countries normally do not have the facilities to analyze the pollutants created by these organic chemicals.

Sector/subsector:

Monitoring of use of organic chemicals and enforcing compliance on rules governing created pollutants.

II. Description of the Good Practice (Outputs): 

The number of persistent organic chemicals used in modern industries is quite numerous and often the concentration in the environment of concern is very low that is unrealistic for laboratories in most developing countries to be equipped with the appropriate laboratory facilities. The usage of those persistent organic chemicals and the generated pollutants could very small. However, those substances can accumulate in the environment and may reach critical levels. Once the chemicals have accumulated, it may take decades before the chemicals are neutralized, especially if the chemicals affect groundwater.

One of such chemical is Trichloroethylene, or TCE. TCE is widely used in industries, ranging from dry cleaners, machine shops, electronic and semi-conductors. It is even used by households as a degreasing and cleaning chemical. TCE is a potential carcinogenic substance and in most countries. Its use has been prohibited since the mid 1990s. TCE is a volatile substance but it is scrubbed from the atmosphere by rain and carried underground, often contaminating ground water resources.

TCE is just an example of an industrial chemical, whose impacts on the environment is persistent and potentially damaging even at parts per billion or parts per trillion range. Most countries have a reporting system or control on the entry of those chemicals on their border. However, once inside their territory the monitoring is patchy, since sophisticated laboratory required for monitoring is most often than not absent.

In this particular case, the presence of TCE in the ground water was voluntarily reported by a multi-national giant after it carried out clean up of its old factory site. The company stopped using TCE in 1992 in line with its parent company environmental policy and 2006 as part of its clean up procedures; it spent hundreds of thousand of dollars to sample and analyze the soil and groundwater. Due to the wide uses of TCE and the number of potential users it was difficult to pinpoint the source. However, the concentration was up to a hundred times higher than the recommended TCE levels on drinking water by the World Health Organization.

Based on this incident, the procedures for importation of some 30 chemicals were revised. Importers of chemicals in the “watch list” were required to submit the list of users and the quantity used prior to authorization to import. The users were required to report the concentration of those chemicals in the groundwater, surface and soil as part of their environmental permit.

III. Outcomes or Results: 

The cost of analyzing one sample of a typical chemical in the “watch list” is $50 and measuring the downstream and upstream surface and ground water quality can reach $200 per year. The cost of analysis for soil sample is higher, at $80. The total cost for a user per chemical type in the “watch list” is $280 per year. Considering that there are more than 10,000 users, the annual cost is $2,800,000. Interestingly, these associated costs are much higher than the budget of laboratory agencies of a typical environment agency.

IV. Essential Elements for Success: 

Policy Framework: Enabling Policy, Regulation, Inter-agency/Multiparty Agreements

Implementation of the practice called for revision of the administrative order controlling the importation of the chemicals in the “watch list”. The environmental management agency also encourages the private sector to open laboratory facilities to analyze the various chemicals in the “watch list” to lower the cost. It is estimated that more than 40 percent of the present cost is the special handling and shipping requirements of the samples for analysis in either Singapore, Tokyo or West coast USA.

Human Resources and Skills

The revision was integrated into the existing workload of the staff evaluating and authorizing the importation of the chemicals in the “watch list”

Material and Resources

The monitoring of the users, the quantity used and the importers were encoded in the environmental management database to facilitate compliance monitoring.

Institutional Support

Implementation of the procedure called for strong cooperation between the environmental management and customs, which is responsible for the controlling entry of the chemicals in the watch list. It also called for strong cooperation within the agency of the water quality division and the THW and the controlled chemical division.

V. Further Information: 

References and Publications:

Original DAO for controlled chemical importation
Revised DAO for controlled chemical importation

Auditing System for Toxic and Hazardous Wastes (THW) Treatment and Storage Facilities in the Philippines

Date posted: 
Nov 13 2008

THW storage and treatment facilities are periodically audited to assure that the wastes are properly stored, treated and disposed. The objective of the practice is to maintain an on-line record of the THW received, exported, treated, reused and recycled to facilitate auditing. Online and real time recording, together with the manifest system, minimizes fudging of inventory records and makes retrieval of necessary records convenient.

Responsible Party: 
Enforcement Agency
I. Objectives or Impact: 

THW storage and treatment facilities are periodically audited to assure that the wastes are properly stored, treated and disposed. The objective of the practice is to maintain an on-line record of the THW received, exported, treated, reused and recycled to facilitate auditing. Online and real time recording, together with the manifest system, minimizes fudging of inventory records and makes retrieval of necessary records convenient.

Sector/subsector:

The practice covers THW storage and treatment facilities.

II. Description of the Good Practice (Outputs): 

When the THW storage treatment facility receives the wastes, it returns a manifest confirming that it has received the wastes. Relevant data, such as the quantity and type of wastes, are automatically registered. The inventory of the facility is also automatically upgraded. The system also informs the authorities regarding outbound flows of the facility, like exporting, treatment, and selling of wastes. Similar with inbound flows, the inventory is also automatically adjusted.

At the same time, the system also recognizes tasks or flows outside the set conditions. For example, if the quantity or quality of wastes reported as being treated, re-used or recycle is outside its capabilities, a warning is flashed on the log and the inventory is not adjusted. When wastes are exported, the inventory is adjusted only when the wastes have been manifested as loaded or accepted by the shipper.

Monitoring of flows is also made easy by the system. When the inspectors audit the THW storage and/or treatment facility, a real-time inventory log guides the inspectors.

III. Outcomes or Results: 

Under the existing system, there is little guidance to the inspector on the quantity of wastes delivered, shipped out or whether the wastes are illegally dumped. Given this new system, it is difficult for the THW storage and/or disposal facility to dump the wastes as it has to account for the physical presence of the THW. One of the shortcomings of the system is that it does not differentiate treatment, reuse, and recycling of THW, with actual withdrawal and/or illegal disposal of the THW. However, this practice is a significant improvement of the existing practice.

IV. Essential Elements for Success: 

Policy Framework: Enabling Policy, Regulation, Inter-agency/Multiparty Agreements

The reporting obligations of the THW storage and/or disposal facilities were revised to reflect the record keeping and auditing requirements.

Human Resources and Skills

The system requires personnel skilled in encoding the THW delivered by the transporter. A dedicated staff is also necessary to retrieve the periodic reports on the quantity of wastes exported, treated, reused and recycled. In the case of THW recycled and reused, a staff is also needed to issue the notification to the buyer that they have purchased specific quantities and quality of materials derived from specific THW.

Material and Resources

The main requirement is an Internet connection in each of the THW storage and disposal facilities. The environmental management bureau must have a server, Internet connections and sufficient terminals for the encoding of the data.

Institutional Support

The development of the software was provided by the UNDP while the World Bank provided the server.

Planning, Scheduling or Sequencing of Activities (if applicable)

V. Further Information: 

References and Publications:

Revised DAO
Inogy Consultants

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