India Joins the Global Ban on Endosulfan, Sadly with Exemptions
Urgent Domestic Action for Complete Ban Sought as Recommended by NHRC
29/4/2011 New Delhi: Endosulfan has finally been PUT under Annex A of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), with exemptions for few countries like India. This means a global ban of all production and use after 5 years (possibly extended to 10 years for some exemptions).
A formal declaration from the Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention is expected in the next couple of hours today.
The proposal for listing this chemical pesticide in Annexure A of the Stockholm Convention with specific exemptions was considered by the Conference of the Parties at its fifth meeting (COP5) held in Geneva from 25 to 29 April 2011.
Environmental and health groups have been demanding listing endosulfan in Annex A for global elimination because it was recommended by the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee of the Convention, it fulfilled all the POPs criteria, it is being phase out or already prohibited in more than 80 countries including developing countries and because alternatives to Endosulfan are available, accessible, technically feasible, economically viable, and generally considered to be safer than Endosulfan.
It has been submitted that alternatives lead to very small increases in costs and benefits the farmers.
Such global action on Endosulfan was long due as it would reduce adverse effects to our environmental health from the abundance of organochlorines in the atmosphere
It is only India, China and Uganda which has asked for exemptions and these are for certain pests on cotton, coffee, tea, jute, tobacco, cow peas, beans, tomatoes, okra, eggplant, onion, potatoes, chillies, apple, mango, gram, arhar, maize, rice, wheat, groundnuts and mustard.
For rest of the other countries who have not sought exemptions, the ban takes place in 1 year time.
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) finds the demand for exemption by the Government of India to be an expression of tremendous influence of the Endosulfan Manufacturers and Formulators which it failed to resist.
TWA demands that domestically Government of India should take earnest steps to safeguard environmental health of present and future generation of Indian citizens by banning it without exemption at the earliest.
However, Government of India's reluctant shift in stance is a reflection of the public efforts domestically especially in Kerala where both the people and the state government joined hands. Following ban on Endosulfan in Karnataka and the fast by Kerala Chief Minister, even Leader Opposition in the Lok Sabha supported complete ban.
TWA feels that even this shift has been too late and endorsement of the exemption is disappointing because it has disregarded the valid public health crisis that has emerged from hazardous pesticide like Endosulfan. It has ignored the spirit of the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee of the Stockholm Convention at its sixth meeting, held in Geneva from 11 to 15 October 2010 had decided, in accordance with paragraph 9 of Article 8 of the Convention, to recommend to the Conference of the Parties, for its consideration, the listing of technical endosulfan (CAS No: 115-29-7), its related isomers (CAS No: 959-98-8 and CAS No: 33213-65-9) and endosulfan sulfate (CAS No: 1031-07-8) in Annex A to the Convention, with specific exemptions.
In the aftermath of the major shift in Government of India’s position, it is incumbent upon the chief ministers of all the Indian states to respond to the letter from Kerala Chief Minister seeking their support for complete ban on Endosulfan sans exemptions in right earnest.
The goings on at the conference can be perused at TWA’s blog: toxicswatch.blogspot.com
For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) Mobile: 9818089660,
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web:toxicswatch.blogspot.com