CEC receives a submission on management of analog television set waste in Mexico

Montreal, 25 August 2015—On 24 August 2015, the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) received a submission asserting that Mexico is failing to effectively enforce its environmental laws in relation to the management and disposal of discarded television sets, following the country’s shift from analog to digital TV signals.

Submission SEM-15-002 (Management of Analog TV Waste) was filed by several individuals and NGOs in Mexico, asserting that while millions of TV sets are being discarded as a result of the so-called “analog blackout” (the conversion from analog to digital TV broadcasting), a management plan required by Mexican law is not being implemented. The Submitters maintain that Mexico’s National Program for the Integral Management of Discarded TVs from the Transition to Digital Television (Programa Nacional para la Gestión Integral de los Televisores Desechados por la Transición a la Televisión Digital Terrestre) is “unattainable,” “not sufficiently precise, and neither adequate to the reality of the situation nor of the time required for program implementation.” The Submitters maintain that government authorities are not allowing public participation and allege a lack of coordination between levels of government, an absence of information to the public, and the lack of a budget to implement the program. They further maintain that the call center for the program is not operating.

The Submitters assert that Mexico is failing to effectively enforce the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, as well as provisions of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States (Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos), the Federal Environmental Liability Law (Ley Federal de Responsabilidad Ambiental), the General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection (Ley General del Equilibrio Ecológico y la Protección al Ambiente), the General Law for Prevention and Comprehensive Management of Waste (Ley General para la Prevención y Gestión Integral de los Residuos) and the Regulations to that Law, and Mexican Official Standard NOM-161-SEMARNAT-2011.

The CEC Secretariat is reviewing SEM-15-002 to determine whether it meets the admissibility criteria for submissions set out in Article 14(1) of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC).

NAAEC Articles 14 and 15 include procedures allowing private parties to make submissions to the CEC Secretariat asserting that a Party is failing to effectively enforce its environmental law. The CEC has published Guidelines for Submissions on Enforcement Matters explaining these procedures. In appropriate cases, and upon instruction from the CEC Council, the CEC Secretariat may examine a submission further and develop a factual record. Article 11(8) requires that the Secretariat safeguard from disclosure, where appropriate, information that could identify a person or organization making a submission.

For more information, please visit the CEC’s Submissions on Enforcement Matters webpage, and the registry of Submission SEM-15-002 (Management of Analog TV Waste).