State Senate approves Wieckowski resolution urging Congress to ratify environmental treaty

SR 47 adds California's voice in support of joining Basel Convention to curb international waste

July 5, 2019

SACRAMENTO – With strong bipartisan support, the California Senate today passed SR 47, authored by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) to urge Congress to ratify the Basel Convention, an international treaty that places protocols on international waste.

“Congress’s failure to ratify the Convention, forces the United States to negotiate costly agreements with individual countries to send and receive wastes,” said Wieckowski, chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation.  “This inaction adversely affects California businesses that often do business in countries that are bound by the Convention’s waste protocols.”

The global transboundary waste trade is a multi-billion-dollar industry.  It includes toxic wastes, electronic wastes, manufacturing wastes, and pesticides, as well as recoverable materials for final disposal or recycling. 

While the United States signed the Convention and the U.S. Senate gave its approval in 1992, Congress has failed to amend the law to conform to the Convention, preventing ratification and participation in the Conference of Parties.  This May, the protocols were expanded to cover contaminated and mixed plastic wastes.

“We appreciate the Senate’s passage of SR 47 because making the United States a party to this convention will provide greater transparency on international waste issues, including plastic pollution, which is a growing global problem,” said Anu Natarajan, StopWaste’s legislative affairs manager.  “Recent polls indicate that public concern relating to plastic pollution and its impact on the environment and human health is increasing.  Now that the Basel Convention protocols include contaminated and mixed-plastic wastes, it makes even more sense to ratify the treaty.”   

SR 47 is also supported by Californians Against Waste, the California Waste and Recycling Association, TOMRA, Consumer Watchdog, the National Stewardship Action Council and the California Product Stewardship Council.  

Senator Wieckowski represents the 10th District, which includes parts of southern Alameda County and Santa Clara County.