The hazardous wastes belong to a category of special wastes containing certain chemicals, metals and pathogenic organisms which can cause damage to the environment even at low concentration. If not properly managed for safe disposal, it can have frightening environmental repercussions. Indiscriminate disposal of these wastes into the environment without proper treatment could lead to pollution of river water, land and groundwater resources. Precautionary measure is required for handling of hazardous wastes generated within the country from different sources as well as though import other countries for recovery of useful materials. recognising the need for proper management and handling of hazardous wastes, the regulations in this regard under the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 have been notified by the Ministry of environment & Forest, Govt, of India (1989).
At the international level, the concern for restricting transboundary movement of hazardous wastes is reflected in the Basel Convention (1989) and subsequent follow-up activities.
In exercise of the power conferred under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (29 of 1986), the Central Government has made the Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989 and published in the official Gazette No.S.O.594 (E), dated 28.7.1989/ these Rules define the Hazardous Wastes and provide specific schedule in which wastes are listed for application of the rules. The occupier generating hazardous waste has obligation to take all practical steps to ensure that such wastes are properly handled and disposed off without any adverse effect, which may result from such wastes. The occupier shall also be responsible for proper collection, transportation, treatment, and storage and disposal of these wastes either by himself or through the operator of a facility
The Basel Convention is the broadest and most significant international treaty on trans-boundary movement of hazardous wastes presently in effect. The impact of hazardous wastes on the environment has large repercussions, particularly on the quality of waters and land effective regulation of the management and disposal of hazardous wastes requires cooperation at the global level. The Basel Convention is the first and foremost global legal instrument regulating the trans- boundary movement of hazardous wastes and their disposal The Basel Convention, adopted by the diplomatic conference in Basel in 1989, was develop under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and entered into force in May 1997, the Basel Convention has 111 States and the European Community is Parties. The rapidly increasing number of Parties reflects the growing awareness and interest of States in this important sector of environment and health protection. The following are the key objectives of the Basel Convention: