NGO Documents for the Earth Summit, 1992
Non-Governmental Organization Alternative Treaties
at the '92 Global Forum
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Treaty 25. Treaty on Waste
1. The Earth's natural resources are finite and must be utilized in a responsible,
socially just and environmentally sustainable manner;
2. Active cooperation between peoples, respect of human rights and participatory
democracy including access to education and unbiased information are fundamental
prerequisites for an equitable, peaceful and just society;
3. Society as a whole and the poor in particular, suffers from the health impact and
the socioeconomic costs of soil, water and food contamination and air pollution, caused by
the existing dominant model of economic development;
4. The indiscriminate production of waste causes a severe environmental disequilibrium
that threatens the integrity of ecological systems and increases the harm to the social,
economic and cultural well-being of the world's inhabitants;
5. National and international legislation and regulations concerning different
categories of waste such as urban, industrial, hazardous and nuclear are highly amorphous
and heterogeneous from country to country, thus representing a great obstacle to effective
and environmentally sound global action.
6. Communities do not have control over the production, transportation, import and
export, treatment and related emission and final destination of wastes in their vicinity,
although those communities are the most threatened by the waste management activities;
7. Considering also the proposals contained in the 'Agenda Ya Wananchi Citizen's Action
Plan for the 1990s' which was adopted at the International NGO Conference 'Roots Of The
Future' held in Paris in December 1991, therefore, citizens representing NGOs and social
movements from around the globe gathered at the International Forum of NGOs and Social
Movements 'Commitments for the Future', held in Rio de Janeiro, June 1992, and committed
to make responsible choices now for the good of future generations, have adopted the
following principles and commitments as a basic platform for future actions.
8. Social forces in all countries have to work to reach the goal of zero production of
hazardous and nuclear waste.
9. The adoption of any new technology or industrial process must include a
precautionary principle towards waste production before commencing operation. It is wiser
to prevent wastes that clean their negative impacts on human health and the environment.
10. All major programs of waste environmental education should stress the importance of
a pluralistic culture, respect for local cultural traditions about the use of natural
resources and the local lifestyle of a population.
11. All people have the right of access to full and unbiased information about all
steps of waste production and management, including the different modes of waste storage
and transportation, and the final destination of waste materials. Society also has the
right to unrestricted access and to dissemination of information about quantities of all
kinds of wastes produced and the risks involved in any part of the world, without any
control, restrictions or censorship.
12. The primary impact of urban waste is local, and the solution of this problem should
therefore be initiated on a local level with the introduction of environmentally sound
alternatives. Decision-making must include public participation and must not be under
exclusive control of authorities.
13. The problems induced by industrial, hazardous and existing nuclear wastes must be
prevented and solutions must be funded by the producers themselves. These solutions must
be licensed and monitored by the authorities as well as by elected citizens bodies. All of
these management or clean up costs, direct or indirect, must be assumed by the producers
themselves. The security and health of the workers must be assured.
14. In order to substitute nuclear power production, governments and industries must
increase funding for research into renewable energy technology.
15. The adoption of national and international regulations aimed at implementing clean
production technologies, minimizing waste at source and at eliminating packaging materials
that are non-biodegradable, non-reusable or non-recyclable, is an essential step towards
the creation of new social attitudes and to prevent the negative impacts of unlimited
16. The informal recycling methods that exist today in a great number of cities must
provide the basis for development of public schemes to promote the recovery of primary
materials in urban waste. However, it is of utmost importance to consider the necessities
of the poorest sector of society which finds itself dependent on income obtained from
17. The more strict and comprehensive environmental regulations in practice in any
country should be extended to the global community as an emergency measure. In the longer
term, new global regulations of the production and control of wastes and codes of practice
must be implemented based on independent and realistic assessment of the impacts of wastes
on the Biosphere and on the health and reproductive integrity of all species.
18. Industrial, hazardous and nuclear waste must be contained and maintained in the
country where they are produced, even if they are designated as an economic good.
Transnationals must be prohibited from making the decisions on where to put nuclear and
19. All military wastes must comply with the rules and regulations as any other wastes.
20. Countries must not affect neighbours with its waste final disposal.
21. The commitments which pertain to organizational actions between NGOs should be
achieved worldwide in one year.
Action Plans and Commitments
22. Develop through existing international networks, a permanent inventory of
accidents, transportation routes and potential problems related to hazardous and nuclear
waste including location, dates, perpetrators, solutions and outcomes.
23. Promote the formation of local, regional and international networks to share
information and to organize pressure groups which can integrate monitoring, denouncements,
solidarity actions and in case of severe violations, boycotts to fight for justice, health
and ecological sustainability on a global level.
24. Encourage research on and an open access to database network about appropriate
technologies and patterns of services, quality and costs of waste management, in order to
provide local communities a basis for responsible decisions.
25. Encourage international organizations to establish an international training on
26. Enforce evaluations and environmental impact studies prior to the implementation of
any activity that generate wastes and might cause negative effects for the environment or
for communities which will have priority participation in the evaluation of these studies,
including the power to veto projects.
27. Advocate new life styles that promote the integrity of the equilibrium between
public health and the health of ecosystems in a way that allows for an economic and social
development model that does not threaten the environment nor produce uncontrollable and
28. Identify and articulate experts and reference centers through an international
network, in order to provide independent and technically sound assistance to local
movements in questions relating to wastes.
29. Influence governments to create comprehensive and effective waste management
policies and regulations to observe the highest international environmental and health
standards and to establish an international code of practice for wastes.
30. Pressure business to reduce wastes by the development and implementation of cleaner
31. Enforce the public responsibility in determining how to handle waste.
32. Prohibit waste discharge without treatment into water, land, air and outer space.
33. Pressure local, regional and national governments to establish legal, financial and
monitoring mechanisms that guarantee:
a. the responsibility of waste producers in regard to the effects of such residues to
the environment and living beings
b. the strict prohibition of imports or exports of wastes
c. ban on the construction and use of incinerators and similar technologies that merely
change the physical state of waste
d. the education and rigorous licensing of transporters of wastes.
34. Pressure that all corporations in our countries assume working and safety standards
as high as those highest established by any country.
35. Reject the export of methodology, currently in use in many countries, to evaluate
the impacts on health and environment of different actions called 'health risk
assessments', for being merely manipulative statistical models which justify death.
36. Pressure governments to enforce that the treatment, isolation and depositing of
wastes is done in the countries of origin on the basis of unlimited liability on part of
the producers of such wastes. The liability includes the obligation to restore,
decontaminate and revitalize any location that has been affected by any kind of waste.
37. Establish campaigns aiming at enforcing the right of the public to be informed
about production, use and trade of any kind of waste.
38. Denounce systematically any careless and illegal practices in regard to the
handling of any kind wastes, on national and international level.
In Regard to Urban Wastes
39. Promote education campaigns to change values and lifestyle so urban wastes can be
40. Organize campaigns aimed at abolishing packaging that is non-recycle,
non-biodegradable and non-reusable.
41. Enforce the source separation for collection of urban wastes in order to maximize
the possibilities of recycling and to avoid the risks of contamination in composting.
42. Pressure the local and national governments to implement decentralized systems of
waste management using technology appropriate to the local environmental,social and
43. Promote local, regional and international educational campaigns aimed at
reducing,reusing and recycling resources to the greatest extent possible.
44. Conduct educational campaigns aimed that all citizens know about their rights to
complete and unrestricted access to public services of collection, treatment and disposal
of unavoidable wastes, which service must be of good quality and for a fair cost.
45. Mobilize society against the installation of more waste incinerators and for the
deactivation of existing ones.
46. Pressure government bodies to establish institutional waste management plans which
include education campaigns, collection, making of recyclables, environmentally sound
final destination and purchasing goods with recycled content.
In Regard to Hazardous Wastes
47. Pressure local, regional and national governments to establish legal, financial and
monitoring mechanisms that guarantee:
a. the reduction in the production of hazardous waste by making industry introduce
preventive and substitutive technologies to those that generate such wastes either as
industrial waste or as consumer products
b. the regular publication and rigorous control of the transportation routes of
dangerous chemical substances, to and from their production sites. In the case of regular
transportation through inhabited areas there must be a previous public risk evaluation in
which the potentially affected population would approve or deny the use of such routes
c. a ban on imports of hazardous waste-producing technology repudiated in the countries
of origin, including the systematic denunciation of the practice of linking financial
loans to the acceptance of such technologies.
48. Form pressure group for a tax on the use of chemicals and their emissions by
industry as a disincentive for the chemical abuse. Funds generated by such tax will be set
aside for communities so that they can hire their own technicians and scientists for
conducting environmental studies and assessment for enabling citizens inspection and
permanent oversight of industrial facilities for computerizing information about chemical
substances that corporations us, store and their final disposition. This information will
be available free of charge to all citizens.
49. Claim for an immediate revision on the policies and legislation regarding the use
and commercialization of all agrochemicals and ban the export and traffic of agrochemicals
that have been prohibited in their country of origin.
In Regards to Nuclear Wastes
50. Provide for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be supplemented with an
article to widen the spectrum of Human Rights to include ecological security and
'radiation security' in particular.
51. Mobilize society to create national and international legislation with the
a. Permanent ban on the construction of nuclear installations
b. Deactivate and substitute existing nuclear reactors, and public the methods,
criteria and timetables employed in the process
c. Ban on the burning of plutonium
d. Nuclear waste must be stored in a monitored retrievable way so that future
generations can repackage it and keep it secured
e. General prohibition of the use of sealed sources for food irradiation and oil
exploration and of proper disposal of those previously used
f. To guarantee that the treatment and depositing of nuclear waste is done in the
countries of origin on the basis of unlimited liability on part of the producers of such
waste. The liability includes the obligation to restore, decontaminate and revitalize any
location that has been affected by radioactive leaks
g. To start to control effectively the management and isolation of medical nuclear
h. There must be public health surveillance and medical assistance for workers and
other persons exposed through nuclear accidents. Information on such accidents must be
shared by computer systems.
52. Demand workers protection in nuclear installations from hazards of radiation
53. Promote and reinforce bans on the mining of uranium and the transportation of
plutonium both inside and between countries.
54. Fight for nuclear-free zones in all countries.
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