Stockholm International: Union Cabinet of India approves ratification of 7 Organic Pollutants

Published: October 7, 2020

On October 7, 2020, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the ratification of seven Chemicals that are listed under Stockholm convention on persistent organic pollutants. Further, the cabinet delegated its powers of ratification to the union ministry of external affairs and ministry of environment forest and climate change. These Ministries are already regulating the persistent organic pollutants under the domestic regulations.

 7 persistent organic pollutants

the 7 persistent organic pollutants that are currently being ratified by the government of India

  • Chlordecone
  • Hexabromobiphenyl
  • Hexabromodiphenyl ether and Heptabromodiphenylether (Commercial octa-BDE)
  • Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and Pentabromodiphenyl ether (Commercial penta-BDE)
  • Pentachlorobenzene
  • Hexabromocyclododecane
  • Hexachlorobutadiene

These pollutants were listed in Stockholm convention already. In 2018, the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change notified regulation of Persistent organic pollutants rules. Under these rules, the manufacture, trade, use, import and export of these seven Chemicals were prohibited. This was completely domestic and not in accordance to the Stockholm Convention.

Why is India ratifying now?

India has ratified the convention in January 2006. However, India till date stays in an opt-out position following domestic rules on usage of POPs

Opt-Out Position in Stockholm Convention

The convention allows its members to stay in such a position under article 25.  According to the article, the amendments made to the convention shall not be enforced by its members unless an instrument of acceptance for ratification or approval is deposited with the United Nations.

The cabinet approval will demonstrate India’s commitment towards international obligation in protecting the environment from POPs. This will in turn allow India to access the Global Environment Facility financial resources by updating National Implementation Plan.

What are persistent organic pollutants?

They are also called forever chemicals. They are resistant to environmental degradation through photolytic, chemical and biological processes. Thus they accumulate in the environment causing adverse impacts on human health. With an intention to eliminate persistent organic pollutants completely from the environment, the Stockholm convention on persistent organic pollutants was held in 2001. India is a signatory of the convention.

Background

The Stockholm convention is a Treaty that was signed to protect environment and humans from persistent organic pollutants. These pollutants accumulate in living organisms affecting their health adversely and are of the nature of quick environmental transport.

 Ill effects

The exposure to persistent organic pollutants might lead to cancer, diseases of immune system, damage to Central and peripheral nervous system and interference with infant development.

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