‘Cabinet ratifies ban on ‘7 hazardous chemicals’ listed under ‘Stockholm Convention’’

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    13th Oct, 2020

The Union Cabinet ratified ban on seven Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP’s) listed under Stockholm Convention and hazardous to health and environment.

Context

The Union Cabinet ratified ban on seven Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP’s) listed under Stockholm Convention and hazardous to health and environment.

About

What are POPs?

  • POPs are listed in various Annexes to the Stockholm Convention after thorough scientific research, deliberations and negotiations among member countries.
  • Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are organic chemical substances, that is, they are carbon-based. They possess a particular combination of physical and chemical properties such that, once released into the environment, they:
    • remain intact for exceptionally long periods of time (many years)
    • become widely distributed throughout the environment as a result of natural processes involving soil, water and, most notably, air
    • accumulate in the fatty tissue of living organisms including humans, and are found at higher concentrations at higher levels in the food chain
    • are toxic to both humans and wildlife.
  • Exposure to POPs can lead to cancer, damage to central and peripheral nervous systems, diseases of immune system, reproductive disorders and interference with normal infant and child development.

Background

  • Considering its commitment towards providing safe environment and addressing human health risks, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) had notified the ‘Regulation of Persistent Organic Pollutants Rules’, in 2018 under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • The regulation inter alia prohibited the manufacture, trade, use, import and export seven chemicals which were already listed as POPs under Stockholm Convention, namely-
    • Chlordecone
    • Hexabromobiphenyl
    • Hexabromodiphenyl ether and Heptabromodiphenylether (Commercial octa-BDE)
    • Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and Pentabromodiphenyl ether (Commercial penta-BDE)
    • Pentachlorobenzene
    • Hexabromocyclododecane
    • Hexachlorobutadiene

What is Stockholm Convention?

  • The Convention was signed in 2001 and effective from May 2004.
  • The Stockholm Convention is a global treaty to protect human health and environment from POPs, which 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).
  • India had ratified the Stockholm Convention on January 13, 2006 as per Article 25(4).
    • It enabled the country to 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.

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