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Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources what action
can be taken against Singaporeans involved in dumping toxic, plastics or other
wastes in neighbouring countries.
Reply by Minister Masagos Zulkifli:
1. The transboundary
movement of hazardous and other controlled waste is governed by the Basel
Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and
their Disposal, or the Basel Convention, which Singapore is a Party to. The
Basel Convention does not prohibit the export of hazardous waste, but requires the
Prior Informed Consent of the countries of import and transit. This is in
recognition of the legitimate transboundary movement of waste as defined under
the Convention, such as those for proper recycling or disposal.
2. The Hazardous
Waste (Control of Export, Import and Transit) Act, or the HWA, provides the
domestic legislative framework for Singapore to meet our obligations under the
Basel Convention. The HWA requires companies to obtain a Basel export permit
for the export of controlled waste, and empowers the National Environment
Agency (NEA) to take regulatory action against companies and individuals who
illegally export such waste. Companies convicted under the HWA may be fined up
to $300,000, while individuals may be fined up to $100,000, or imprisoned for a
term not exceeding 2 years, or both.
is committed to uphold our obligations under the Basel Convention. NEA has been
actively engaging our local companies to increase awareness on Singapore’s
obligations under the Basel Convention, and works closely with the relevant
authorities of the importing countries to investigate any allegations of
illegal export of waste by our companies. Beyond the Basel Convention, we also remind
our companies to adhere to the domestic legislation of countries that they are
4. The Basel
Convention, which currently does not cover the transboundary movement of
plastic waste, will be expanded in scope to cover certain categories of plastic
waste from January 2021. We are amending the HWA in line with these recent
amendments to the Basel Convention. I will share more details on this at the
Second Reading of the Hazardous Waste (Control of Export, Import and Transit)
Amendment Bill scheduled for this sitting.
5. We take a
serious view of any illegal transboundary movement of hazardous and other
wastes as defined under the Basel Convention, and will not hesitate to
investigate and enforce against violations. At the same time, we recognise that the legitimate
flow of clean and valuable recyclables can help support the adoption of a circular
economy at the regional and global level. We will continue to work closely with
the international community to strike a balance between facilitating the legitimate
flow of such resources, and safeguarding against the illegal export of waste.
Last updated: 04 Feb 2020
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