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India all set to accept New Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)?

Written By Gopal Krishna on Monday, January 02, 2017 | 10:30 PM

India continues to lag behind by operating under 2004 UN Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) without accepting the subsequent amendments. Serious public health concerns create a compelling logic for India to ratify all the New POPs in the new year. 

India is one of those countries which not accepted any New POPs but operating is under 2004 treaty. The other such countries are: Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Vanuatu and Venezuela. Notably, Israel, Italy, USA, Malaysia, Malta, Brunei Darussalam and Haiti are non-Parties to the Convention. The Eight Conference of Parties (COP8) of Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants will take up the listing of three more substances: DecaBDE, Short-chain chlorinated paraffins, and HCBD in May 2017.

At present the treaty’s POPs Review Committee is evaluating two more substances for addition to the Convention: dicofol and PFOA. The Convention started with a list of 12 POPs (Dirty Dozen) in 2004. In due course 14 more POPs have been added to the Convention’s list of POPs. The 14 New POPs are:
1.    Chlordecone
2.      Hexabromobiphenyl
3.      Pentachlorobenzene
4.      Lindane
5.      Alpha hexachlorocyclohexane
6.      Beta hexachlorocyclohexane
7.      Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and pentabromodiphenyl ether
(commercial PentaBDE)
8.      Hexabromodiphenyl ether and heptabromodiphenyl ether
(commercial OctaBDE)
9.      Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), its salts, and PFOSF
1.     Endosulfan
1.     Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD)
1.   Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD)
1.     Pentachlorophenol (PCP)
1.     Polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs)

The last three-Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD), Pentachlorophenol (PCP) and Polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs) were added to the treaty at COP7 in 2015.

When a substance is added to the Stockholm Convention, the ban applies to most countries unless they write the Secretariat saying that they cannot accept it. However, a small group of countries has an arrangement which automatically rejects a new listing unless they write the Secretariat to accept it. This is supposed to give countries a chance to have a little time to facilitate elimination. However, in practice some countries use this as an excuse not to do anything.

The countries with this special arrangement referred to as “opt-in” include India. The other such countries are: Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Botswana, Canada, China, Estonia, Guatemala, Mauritius, Micronesia, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Vanuatu, and Venezuela. The Convention’s secretariat is yet to provide news about the three remaining New POPs.
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