India launches 1st phase of programme to eliminate POPs

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New Delhi, May 6 (UNI) India today launched the main phase of the programme to implement the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

The Stockholm Convention, adopted in May 2001, focuses on reducing and eliminating the production/use and release of 12 chemicals including aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, mirex, toxaphene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and furans and continued use of DDT.

Inaugurating a Workshop for the Development of the National Implementation Plan as a first step towords implementation of the Convention, Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and Forests Meena Gupta said India had already done a preliminary assessment to identify the requirements in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

She said four premier Institutions had joined in this endeavour.

The Hindustan Insecticides Ltd, New Delhi would undertake project activities related to Pesticides including DDT.

The Central Power Research Institute (CPRI), Bangalore would cover the PCBs, and the National Environment Engineering Research Institute(NEERI), Nagpur of the CSIR would cover POPs Stockpiles and Wastes.

The work relating to unintentionally produced POPs, Dioxins and Furans would be jointly undertaken by the National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science&Technology(NIST), Trivandrum , the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), New Delhi and the NEERI, Nagpur.

This workshop has been organised to formally launch the programme with the main aim of sensitising the different stakeholders about the obligations of the country, as a party, to the Stockholm Convention.

The Government, through the four premier institutions, will establish inventories on the production, use, trade, stockpiles and wastes, and sites contaminated; and would develop strategies and action plans for the reduction and elimination of the targeted chemicals listed in Annexes of the Convention.

The inaugural session was also adressed by Mr Philippe R Scholtes, Deputy Country Director, UNIDO and Mr Pieter Bult, Deputy Country Director, UNDP.

The POPs are known to be environmentally persistent and resist breakdown by natural processes and in some cases remain in the environment for long periods.

Although the POPs resists breakdown in the water, these are soluble in fatty tissues, thereby bio-available to the animals.

Through the process of bio-concentration, the animals can accumulate concentrations of POPs at levels many times higher than those found in the environment.

The POPs are semi-volatile and through cycles of evaporation and atmospheric cycling are capable of travelling thousands of kilometres.

The Stockholm Convention has come into force for India on April 13, 2006. India signed the Convention on May 14, 2002.

GEF has sanctioned US $ 3,074,700 for India's National Implementation Plan (NIP) Project with project duration of two years.

UNI NAZ RR AS1928

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