Guidelines for good practices for disposal of toxics

20 July 2017
Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights
To the Human Rights Council’s 36th session in September 2017


Pollution is estimated to be one of the leading causes of death and disease worldwide. In 2015, pollution killed an estimated 9 million people, accounting for approximately 16 per cent of all deaths worldwide. This is three times more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined, and 15 times more than from wars and other forms of violence (Philip J. Landrigan and others, “Lancet Commission on pollution and health”, The Lancet, February 2018). Pollution—and more specifically, human exposure to it—is estimated to be the single largest source of premature death in the world today.

In this context, and in response to a request by UN Human Rights Council Resolution 27/23 (A/HRC/RES/27/23), the Special Rapporteur presented a report with guidelines for good practices for the disposal of toxic wastes in September 2017.


Over the past several decades, many States have made welcome progress in reducing the impacts of toxics. However, this progress has not been shared equally. There remain disparities within and among all countries in respecting, protecting and fulfilling the implicated human rights.

The Special Rapporteur recommends that States and other stakeholders do the following:

  • Ensure that legislation and other practices reflect their duty to respect, protect and fulfil human rights obligations related to toxic waste disposal, including the rights to life, to health and to physical integrity;
  • Ensure that practices relating to hazardous substances and wastes do not discriminate against any vulnerable group
  • Enact and enforce legislative and regulatory frameworks to protect human rights against infringement caused by business operations that produce, use, release, store and dispose of hazardous wastes

Read all recommendations in the report, available in all 6 UN official languages


Interactive dialogue: Working Group on Mercenaries & Special Rapporteur on toxics at the 36th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council
13 Sep 2017


To prepare these guidelines, the Special Rapporteur prepared and circulated a questionnaire to governments, and another to businesses, civil society representatives and other stakeholders, to identify, disseminate and provide guidance on good practices to inform the report.

Special Procedures
Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights
Recent Thematic Reports
Issues in Focus
Contact information

Dr. Marcos A. Orellana, Special Rapporteur on Toxics and Human Rights

Avenue Giuseppe Motta 48,
CH-1202 Geneva
Fax : +41 22 917 90 06

Follow the Special Rapporteur on Twitter: @SRtoxics

To subscribe to or unsubscribe from the Special Rapporteur's newsletter, please email with “newsletter” in the subject line.

Others involved
External links