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Heal Toxics is a member of the International POPs Elimination Network

This website provides resources on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) such as pesticides, dioxins, PCBs, and wastes. Valuable examples of community monitoring of health and environmental impacts of toxic chemicals are also furnished.

Further, there is an entire section devoted to chemical safety in its proper socio-political context or in relation to issues such as globalization and people's empowerment.

 

Kyrgyzstan Combats Persistent Organic Pollutants

Times of Central Asia
J anuary 29, 2004
By Elena Skorodumova, TCA contributor

BISHKEK (TCA). Several decades ago nobody knew of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP). Today they are everywhere - in water, in the air, in soil, and in people. Bishkek hosted a national seminar concerning this global problem.

"Over the past 50 years mankind has been an involuntary participant in an endless chemical experiment involving all the continents on Earth," said Garislav Shkolenok (Senior Scientific Affairs Officer, Chemicals, United Nations Environment Program) who arrived at the seminar from Geneva.

"Of course, the revolution in chemistry has helped improve people's lives, but some chemicals that are released into the environment cause toxic reactions, have a strong resistance to decomposition for many years, and are carried for thousands of kilometers from the place of their origin. They cause negative consequences to people's health and the Earth's ecology. Small concentrations of POP cause oncology diseases, disorders of immune and nervous systems, and many other diseases. It is known that Eskimos have never produced or used POPs. But there is a paradox: the concentration of some toxic and harmful substances in the organisms of Eskimos is much higher than in the organisms of people living in regions that use these pollutants. That means that we on Earth are more dependent on each other than it may seem. Fortunately, we have begun to understand the threat: in 2001 ecology ministers from more than 110 countries signed the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. The document lists 12 detrimental organic substances and calls on the world to gradually stop their production."

Especially dangerous are dioxins that are produced unintentionally as a result of incomplete burning or during production of some pesticides and other chemicals. Dioxins may also be discharged into the atmosphere by processing of some metals and pulp and paper waste. Dioxins are also present in exhaust gases of motor vehicles, tobacco smoke, and smoke produced by the burning of wood and coal. Very often people produce dioxins at home, burning plastic bottles, polyethylene bags, and other domestic garbage. Ultimately, this leads to an ecological disaster not only in a certain village or city but also worldwide.

Kyrgyzstan joined the Stockholm Convention in the spring of 2003, as the problem of environmental pollution is very acute in the country. The Global Ecology Fund and UNEP have launched a project, "Assistance to the Kyrgyz Republic in the preparation of the National Action Plan to fulfil the Stockholm Convention." In the opinion of Melisbek Bekkoenov, national coordinator of the project, the participation in the international convention allows Kyrgyzstan to use the mechanism of this important document to attract technological, financial and information resources for ecologically safe handling of Persistent Organic Pollutants.

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