This month’s tracker reflects key initiatives from June 16 - July 15, 2016.
Brazil’s proposal to establish the region’s first comprehensive chemical regulatory program is the top story of this issue. Elsewhere, Chile and Peru may declare access to water a fundamental human right, Costa Rica restricts some packaging materials while Argentina considers broader regulation of all packaging, and new e-waste and battery stewardship initiatives have appeared in Argentina, the Dominican Republic, and Ecuador.
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The Secretariat of Environment and Sustainable Development (SAyDS) has published a resolution (No. 206/2016) amending the insurance policy rules for environmental damages, set forth in Article 22 of the General Environment Law (No. 25.675). The new rules expand the role of the Environmental Risk Evaluation Unit in verifying compliance with environmental insurance requirements.
A bill (No. 2371/2016) has been proposed in the Senate to impose extended producer responsibility for packaging. If adopted as proposed, the bill would impose design-for-environment concepts in packaging manufacturing, outline package labeling requirements, and require packagers and product manufacturers and importers to establish packaging take-back systems.
As Argentina lacks a mechanism to ensure the proper disposal of used batteries, its environmental agency, SAyDS, is in the process of developing a project that would impose extended producer responsibilities (EPR) on battery importers (currently, all batteries are imported into the country and require prior authorization from SAyDS). The project would involve the establishment of battery collection points and temporary storage centers to facilitate the disposal of these end-of-life products. SAyDS announced that it will collaborate with the private sector to implement the project over the next year, anticipating that EPR obligations will go into effect in 2018.
While numerous bills have been proposed in Argentina to regulate electrical and electronic waste, none has passed the Congress and the country lacks a law to govern this waste stream. A new e-waste bill currently in development may have a greater probability of success than past efforts, as it is reportedly a collaboration between the Ministry of Production and other agencies. It is expected to be published in the second half of this year.
The Ministry of the Environment posted for public comment a draft bill to monitor, evaluate and control the use of industrial chemicals produced in or imported into Brazil. The Bill would establish the framework of a chemical regulatory regime with three major components: a registry of chemical production and imports, a risk assessment process, and a risk management program authorized to impose restrictions and bans. Comments are due by August 14, 2016. For more information, see our news alert, Brazil Proposes Sweeping Chemicals Legislation.
The National Council of Metrology, Quality and Technology (CONMETRO) has published a resolution (No. 1/2016) that requires importers of lamps and their key components (glass bulbs and tubes) to provide proof to the National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology (INMETRO) of their compliance with the nationwide take-back system for fluorescent, sodium, and mercury vapor and mixed light lamps before an import license can be issued. The resolution fulfills a promise made in the 2015 National Lamp Sectoral Agreement to address potential "free rider" problems.
Starting July 1, 2016, 41W to 60W incandescent bulbs that do not meet minimum energy efficiency levels set by the Managing Committee for Indicators and Levels of Energy Efficiency (CGIEE) are no longer legal to sell in Brazil. New 25W to 40W bulbs manufactured in or imported into the country must comply with these energy efficiency standards as well, while those already in circulation must comply or be removed from the market by June 2017.
The Chamber of Deputies, by unanimous vote, approved the bill to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change in which Brazil pledged to reduce its emissions by 37% by 2025 and by 43% by 2030. The bill now moves to the Senate, where it is also expected to pass without objection.
The Consumer Protection Committee in the Chamber of Deputies has approved a bill (No. 7820/10), with amendments, that would create the Registry for Environmental Certificates and Certification Institutions (CCA) and set environmental certification standards for products. The bill now passes to the Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship Committee.
A bill (No. 5718/2016) has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies that would amend the National Solid Waste Policy (Law No. 12.305/2010) to require commercial establishments to set up collection points for recyclable packaging. The bill aims to promote the principle of shared responsibility and support the goals of the National Packaging Sectoral Agreement, signed by the Ministry of Environment and 26 trade associations in November 2015 to establish a take-back program for most types of packaging.
Representatives from São Paulo’s Secretariat of Environment (SMA), the state’s environmental enforcement agency (CETESB), and the Brazilian Association of Aerosols and Sanitizing Products (ABAS) signed a reverse logistics agreement for the containers of insecticides and rodenticides. The agreement is intended to expand the collections of a statewide take-back system that the sector has already established.
On June 25, 2016, Law No. 20.930, establishing the “Right to Environmental Conservation,” was published in the Official Gazette. Chilean landowners are now able protect their land in perpetuity through conservation easements—a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that allows the landowner to dedicate property to conservation without losing ownership rights. The Law is intended to incentivize private conservation initiatives and fill gaps in current protected areas.
The Agriculture Committee in the Chamber of Deputies has approved a bill (No. 7543) amending the Water Code to declare access to water for human consumption and domestic uses an inalienable human right guaranteed by the State. The bill would also allow for the establishment of a “minimum ecological flow” for watercourses, to protect ecosystem sustainability. The bill now passes to the Finance Committee for review.
The Chamber of Deputies has approved a bill (No. 9285) amending the Health Code to require consideration of World Health Organization (WHO) drinking water standards. A technical standard, to be issued as a Ministry of Health decree, would still be needed to establish specific thresholds and methods for determining potability.
Draft Technical Standard Proposed for Computer Ecolabel
The Colombian Institute of Technical Norms and Certification (ICONTEC) has published a preliminary draft technical standard (No. 255/15) that implements Resolution No. 1555/2005 and establishes the environmental criteria that computers must meet in order to obtain the ecolabel (Sello Ambiental Colombiano) recognized by the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce (SIC). The draft technical standard would apply to manufacturers, producers, importers, and marketers of computers, including desktop computers, integrated desktop computers, laptops, tablets, workstations, and thin clients. Interested parties may obtain a copy of the draft technical standard directly from ICONTEC.
The Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) has published an official decree (No. 39700-MINAE), modifying its Law for Integrated Waste Management (No. 8839/2010) to ban the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) containers and packaging in commercial establishments. Exceptions will be made in certain circumstances, such as in the conservation or protection of food or other products, or when it is not feasible to use alternative materials. The decree goes into effecton July 5, 2021.
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources through the Department of Solid Waste and Municipal Affairs has announced the development of a regulation that will govern the disposal of electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) throughout the country. The Ministry has begun to coordinate with local jurisdictions to develop e-waste management activities.
The Ecuadorian Standardization Agency (INEN) has published a technical regulation (RTE 105-IR) that imposes limits for mercury (Hg) and cadmium (Cd) in primary and secondary batteries; outlines battery classification designations based on electro-chemistry; establishes test methods to measure Hg/Cd concentrations; sets labeling requirements; and provides conformity assessment procedures. The regulation will go into effect on December 28, 2016.
The Secretariat of Economy has published a draft voluntary standard that implements voluntary standard, NMX-SAA-14064-1-IMNC, and establishes guidelines for measurement and reporting of direct and indirect GHG emissions. Although the proposed standard would not be enforceable if approved, voluntary standards are often mandatory in procurement contracts and can become industry standards over time, creating market pressure to comply.
The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) carried out its 4th National Highway Operation to ensure that materials, substances, and hazardous wastes are being transported in accordance with federal laws and regulations for the transport and transboundary movement of wastes. PROFEPA detected the irregular handling of 53.5 tons of hazardous waste, including oil contaminated rags, fluorescent lamps, used oils, and used lead-acid batteries that lacked the proper transport authorization issued by the Secretariat of Environment (SEMARNAT).
Mexico City's Secretariat of Environment has published its 2016-2020 Integrated Solid Waste Management Program (PGIRS), which establishes eight strategies for achieving "zero waste" through an inclusive and participatory approach. The PGIRS addresses the following waste management topics: 1) Prevention and Minimization, 2) Separation, 3) Collection, 4) Transfer, 5) Reuse and Recovery, 6) Disposal, 7) Normative and Administrative Instruments, and 8) Environmental Protection.
The Ministry of Health (MINSA) has published a Ministerial Resolution (No. 490-2016-MINSA), proposing a draft Regulation for the Management of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs). The regulation would apply to persons or entities, both public and private, that possess PCB inventories, including PCB-contaminated wastes.If adopted as proposed, PCB holders (titulares) would be required to eliminate all PCB stocks and contaminated wastes by December 31, 2021.
The Ministry of Environment (MINAM) has published a Ministerial Resolution (No. 174-2016-MINAM), approving the 2017-2021 Multiyear Sectoral Strategic Plan (PESEM) for the Environment Sector. The Plan outlines strategies to: 1) improve environmental conditions in Peru to contribute to the health of its people and ecosystems; 2) promote the sustainable use of biological diversity and ecosystem services; 3) strengthen the State’s ability to adapt to climate change; 4) promote the reduction of GHG emissions; and 5) strengthen environmental culture and governance.
A bill (No. 5406/2015-CR) has been proposed in Peru’s unicameral Congress to amend the federal constitution to declare water a fundamental right and guarantee universal and equal access to water for human consumption and domestic uses. The bill maintains that water is a public resource that cannot be subject to concession or privatization.
MINAM has published a Ministerial Resolution (No. 168-2016-MINAM), approving nine guidelines to help public and private entities develop annual reports that disclose their GHG emissions. The guidelines facilitate the implementation of the National GHG Inventory and cover the following sectors: 1) energy, 2) industrial, 3) waste, 4) agriculture, and 5) land use.