At Word Forum on Waste Management for Human Health and Livelihood on the Ninth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (COP9) on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, Nusa Dua-Bali-Indonesia, June 26th, 2008.

Excellencies Ministers for the Environment and Ministers for Health from the Member Countries of the Basel Convention,

Representatives from International organizations, Civil Societies and Industries,

The Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme,

The Executive Secretary of the Basel Convention,

Distinguished Delegates, ladies and Gentlemen.

It is indeed a great honour and privilege for me, as a minister of Health of the Republic of Indonesia to present a key-note address at this World Forum on Waste Management for Human Health and Livelihood as included within the Ninth Meeting of the Conference, with the objective to control the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal. Herewith I would like to welcoma all of the distinguished delegates and the participants to the desire pleasure of Bali, Indonesia.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

We all are aware that about two third of all industrial investment in developing countries over the past decades are attributable to foreign companies and investors. The main reason of industries migration of shift from developed to developing countries is due to low operational and labor costs. Developing countries are experiencing a dilemma as a consequence of a rapid growing industrialization, a two sides of a coin, with the economic development attainment in one hand and the various negative environmental consequences on the other hand.

It is also surprising that illegal transboundary movements of hazardous waste are still in existence even though the Basel Convention has been implemented in the past ten years, especially in developing countries including in Indonesia.

Human being is the main concern in the context of sustainable development. People are entitled to live in a healthy life and in harmony with the environment. The environment, health and development interface is well defined and well understood from the decade of the-90s.

Development without promotion of peoples health and well being is merely impossible. No it is the time to think seriously to save our nations and human health, through a proper environmentally sound management of hazardous wa
stes for the welfare of the people. Why the situation today has not change very much as it was ten years ago? What are the underlying factor that still unsolved?

Nowadays waste generation and subsequent pollution are increasing in Indonesia. There are some economic benefits associated with safe and efficient recovery, reuse and recycling of wastes. Given this, the transboundary movement of waste have become much frequent, and thus posing a lot of challenges to the environment and continuing threats to human health including risks in food chain and food safety.

As an archipelagic country, Indonesia has approximately 17 thousands islands spreading in an area of about 1,919,440 square kilometers with a population over 200 millons people. It is difficult to control waste transboundary movement even within the country as the country has so many small seaports, including those in the remote areas where poor people reuse waste materials for some economic benefits irrespective of health consequences. Strict control for transboundary movement as well as the capacity building for waste handling and management in an environmental friendly manner is very important. We need to work on this.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is recognized that inappropriate and inadequate waste management is dangerous to human health. There are some evidences that industrial wastes do not receive adequate treatments prior to disposal. Antrhropogenic heavy metal concentration in Jakarta Bay is an example of the effect of on-going gold mining in the neighbouring areas. Liquid Mercury is used at formal and informal gold mining operations to amalgamate gold and is discharged together with other waste product to land or water. Mercury as one of the heavy metals persists longer in atmosphere or within human body during the food chain and pposes chronic health effects.

The Government of Indonesia undertakes biomarker study in the affected areas. The study shows bioaccumulation of mercury that poses threat to human health. The test result have shown that there is a high risk of exposure to mercury found in the gold mining and waste operations as well as in fishes in the vicinity, which may cause food chain effects to human consuming those fishes.

Beside this situation, there always possibilities for occurrence of disease change incidences, from contagious diseases to un-contagious diseases due to epidemiological transition and demographic factors. We are currently facing double burden with the existence of high contagious and non-contagious diseases.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a member state to the Basel Convention, Indonesia retified the Convention of 20th September 1993. Following the ratification, national regulations to control hazardous wastes has been promulgated, including the Environmental Management Act, number 23 of 1997. The act specifically underlines the prohibition of imports of hazardous wastes from other countries. Also this Act broadly addresses the issues of environmental damage including loss of biodiversity, cost of rehabilitation, and cost of prevention with guidelines on mitigation and handling of environmental pollution and degradation. Similarly we have health regulations that deal with direct of indirect health consequences and protections from wastes and chemicals of regular occurrence.

It is a fact that the in-country and transboundary movement of hazardous wastes cause a lot of serious and discouraging challenges to most of the developing countries. The problem with the illegal trafficking and mismanagement of hazardous and infectious chemicals and wastes from one place to another was one of the reasons for the adoption of Basel Convention.

The Convention ultimately aims at protecting human health and the environment against the adverse effects resulting from the generation, management, transboundary movements and disposal of hazardous and other wastes. This Convention has a lot of contributions in this issue at national and global scale as it helps produce the “Prior Informed Consent