Daily Editorials

Gist of Editorials, 30 March

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

General Studies- II (Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements)

Recently, the Cabinet approved Ratification of seven Persistent Organic Pollutants listed under Stockholm Convention.

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the Ratification of seven (7) chemicals listed under Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). 
  • The Cabinet further delegated its powers to ratify chemicals under the Stockholm Convention to Union Ministers of External Affairs (MEA) and Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MEFCC).
  • Earlier, The MoEFCC had notified the ‘Regulation of Persistent Organic Pollutants Rules, on March 5, 2018 under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. 

The seven Persistent Organic Pollutants chemicals:

The regulation inter alia prohibited the manufacture, trade, use, import and export seven chemicals namely,

  1. Chlordecone, 
  2. Hexabromobiphenyl, 
  3. Hexabromodiphenyl ether and Heptabromodiphenylether (Commercial octa-BDE), 
  4. Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and Pentabromodiphenyl ether (Commercial penta-BDE), 
  5. Pentachlorobenzene, 
  6. Hexabromocyclododecane, and 
  7. Hexachlorobutadiene, which were already listed as POPs under Stockholm Convention.

What is the Stockholm Convention?

The Stockholm Convention is a United Nations’ global treaty to protect human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants (POPs). 

  • Over 152 countries ratified the Convention and it entered into force, on 17 May 2004.
  • The Stockholm Convention focuses on eliminating or reducing releases of POPs. 
  • It sets up a system for tackling additional chemicals identified as unacceptably hazardous. 
  • The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) is the designated interim financial mechanism for the Stockholm Convention.

India and the Stockholm Convention:

  • India had ratified the Stockholm Convention on January 13, 2006.
  • as per Article 25(4), India keep itself in a default “opt-out” position such that amendments in various Annexes of the convention cannot be enforced on it unless an instrument of ratification/ acceptance/ approval or accession is explicitly deposited with UN depositary.

Aims of the Stockholm Convention:

The Stockholm Convention is perhaps best understood as having five essential aims:

  1. Eliminate dangerous POPs, starting with the 12 worst
  2. Support the transition to safer alternatives
  3. Target additional POPs for action
  4. Cleanup old stockpiles and equipment containing POPs
  5. Work together for a POPs-free future

What are the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)?

POPs are chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of living organisms and are toxic to humans and wildlife.

  • POPs circulate globally and can cause damage wherever they travel
  • In other words, The POPs are identified chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate in living organisms, adversely affect human health/ environment and have the property of long-range environmental transport (LRET).

Source: The Hindu / Science

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