Norway bans export of plastic waste to developing countries

A new rule taking effect on January 1st will end the export of plastic waste from Norway to developing countries, in a move that has been praised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Norway bans export of plastic waste to developing countries
File photo: AFP

Plastic waste defined as ‘dangerous waste’, which is not suitable for recycling, will be covered b new rules preventing Norway from exporting waste to developing countries, NRK reports.

“This relates to plastic which contains dangerous chemicals and which there is a high risk of spreading to natural areas if it is managed badly,” climate and environment minister Sveinung Rotevatn told NRK.

The rule comes under the application of the Basel Convention, an international treaty designed to reduce movement of hazardous waste between nations.

Under the treaty, waste management companies must document that waste they export adheres to environmental rules.

“You cannot just send (waste) out of the yard to an unknown country and hope for the best. Now, somebody must know what is being done. And that is significant progress for environmental causes and to avoid toxins in our environment,” Rotevatn said.

In addition, Norway and EU countries are to apply stricter criteria than that in the treaty, meaning they will not be allowed to export plastic waste to developing countries.

“Export of dangerous plastic waste outside of the OECD (countries) will be completely forbidden because we can’t be certain it processed properly,” Rotevatn said.

WWF general secretary Karoline Andaur praised the change in practice.

“I think it’s fantastic. We know that uncontrolled trade of plastic waster is currently going on across the world. That results in huge amounts of plastic being dumped in developing countries which are unable to process it,” she said to NRK.

Production of plastics is increasing globally each year and has been further exacerbated by the coronavirus epidemic, NRK writes.

READ ALSO: Norway offsets fondness for plastic bottles with high recycling

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Norway rules out 2022 oil licences in unexplored areas

Norway will not grant new oil exploration licences in virgin or little-explored areas in 2022 under a political compromise on Monday that hands a modest  victory to opponents of fossil fuels.

Norway rules out 2022 oil licences in unexplored areas
A photo taken on August 30, 2021 shows the Petroleum Museum in Stavanger, Norway, built to show the history of Norway's oil exploration. Norway is the largest producer of hydrocarbons in Western Europe. In the face of the climate emergency, voices are being raised to abandon fossil fuels for good. Petter BERNTSEN / AFP

The Scandinavian country’s governing centre-left coalition supports continuing oil and gas activities but does not have a parliamentary majority, making it reliant on socialist MPs who prioritise green issues.

As part of a compromise on the draft 2022 budget, three parties agreed on Monday that Norway — Western Europe’s largest hydrocarbon producer — would not hold a 26th so-called “ordinary” concession round next year.

This mechanism has allowed oil companies to apply for exploration in previously unexplored areas of the Norwegian continental shelf since 1965.

But the deal does not rule out awarding oil licences in already heavily exploited areas.

Since the North Sea has been extensively explored, the agreement mainly concerns the Barents Sea in the Arctic

The oil industry was a major issue in legislative elections in September, indicating Norway’s growing difficulties in reconciling environmental concerns with exploiting energy resources.

In the 25th concession round in early 2021, only seven oil companies, including Equinor, Shell and Lundin, applied — the lowest number since at least 1978 according to local media.