UNDP Indonesia with the Ministry of Industry and supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), created an initiative to reduce the spread of Polybromodiphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) and Unintentional Persistent Organic Pollutants (UPOPs) derived from production process. PBDE is one of Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs) groups most commonly used to manufacture various refractory and flame retardant materials. The use of flame retardant especially PBDE in plastic products and recycled plastic products is potentially harmful to health (Restrepo and Kannan 2009). PBDE disrupts the hormonal system for sexual development and growth, affects the immune system and causes cancer. BFR is widely used because of its low price and high efficiency. PBDE inhibits combustion by removing bromine at high temperatures. Bromine atoms bind free radicals and stop chemical reactions that initiate combustion and spread of fire (Rahmat et al., 2001).
This joint program is realized through a plastic waste recycling and processing program that also aims to reduce PBDEs and UPOPs emissions by improving production management cycle and processing of plastics containing PBDEs. The program is expected to strengthen national policies to reduce PBDE and UPOP released from plastic goods production process and plastic waste recycling and disposal; reduce or ban imports and use of PBDE in production process; reduce UPOPs and PBDEs released from plastic recycling which are not environmental friendly; as well as reduce UPOPs and PBDEs emissions from non-environmentally friendly plastic disposal activities.
Due to its hazardous nature, PBDE has been approved for entry into the Stockholm Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Convention, which has been ratified by the Government of Indonesia through Law No. 19 of 2009 (Stockholm Convention 2009). The program will ensure sustainable growth and development that will create jobs and livelihoods for the poor and marginalized. The decrease of PBDE and UPOP emissions from the plastics industry and recycling activities will increase market confidence and stimulate investments. In addition, the project will strengthen the Indonesian Government capacity to:
- Raise awareness of the importance of adherence to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP);
- Address development challenges through the development of regulatory framework related to chemicals;
- Apply the best available techniques and environmental practices (BAT/BEP) for PBDE and UPOP;
- Mobilize further financial resources for POP;
- Increase knowledge sharing on POP.
Law No. 32/2009 Article 1 paragraph 20 defines waste as (1) waste generated from a business and/or activity, (2) electronic waste, which is generally understood as an electronic equipment that is no longer in use, functioning or undesirable because it has become an outdated item and needs to be disposed, whether in whole or in part. Most electronic waste are categorized as hazardous and toxic waste because it contains components or parts made of harmful substances, such as lead, mercury and cadmium.
The content of electronic devices are capable of damaging the organs of the body, causing mild illness to death. The impact of these elements includes;
- Cadmium: Causes severe respiration, can damage the lungs and cause death
- Tin: Attacks nervous system of children and adults
- Lead: A person contaminated with lead in large quantities will lead to anemia, kidney damage, severe abdominal pain, muscle dysfunction and brain damage capable of causing death
Lead is an accumulative neurotoxin which damages the brain. The absorption of lead into human blood through the digestive tract and airway can also decrease the number of intellectual quotient (IQ). Research has proven that when burnt, electronic waste containing heavy metals will cause hazardous air pollution, and if disposed will produce leachate (liquid from waste decomposition and rain water infiltration). The conductive liquid is absorbed by the soil and causes groundwater contamination.
In light of these conditions, efforts of UNDP and government, academics, industry and recycling sectors, and other stakeholders in reducing electronic waste containing PDBEs become relevant to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically goal number 12; Responsible Consumption and Production. So far, States continue to address the challenges associated with air, soil and water pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals under the umbrella of multilateral environmental agreements. Almost all Member States of the United Nations are required to regularly report data and information relating to hazardous waste, persistent organic pollutants and ozone depleting substances.
This program in collaboration with the Industrial Research and Development Agency of the Ministry of Industry of the Republic of Indonesia held an International Seminar on "Electronic Industry Waste Management and Waste as Industrial Resources to Support Reduction of PBDE/UPOPs". The seminar took place on 8 and 9 January 2018 and aimed to share insights among stakeholders and prepare recommendations for improved waste management policy.
The seminar presented speakers and participants from academic representatives from Indonesia and abroad; government representatives from the Ministry of Industry of the Republic of Indonesia, Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia, Provincial Government of Bali; representatives of civil society organizations in Asia as well as representatives from the industrial sector. In addition, the seminar also discussed the opportunity of developing energy generation from solid waste in major cities in Indonesia and the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy, which is expected to support the policy of the Ministry of Industry in realizing green industry and circular economy.
UNDP Indonesia Country Office
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