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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.

 

India: Chemical Industry to Boycott Awareness Program on POPs

 

The awareness programme announced jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), environment ministry and commerce ministry on the Stockholm Convention, known as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Treaty, has come as a bolt from the blue for the domestic chemicals producers and exporters. The chemical industry, under the banner of Indian Chemical Manufacturers Association (ICMA), has strongly condemned the move and is set to boycott the programme.

Last week, CII, Associated Environmental Engineers Pvt Ltd (AEEPL), Vadodara, and Bharuch Enviro Infrastructure Ltd (BEIL), Ankleshwar (Gujarat), had announced a series of awareness workshops on the implementation of the the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) treaty. The awareness workshop will educate all the stakeholders on the issues pertaining to POPs Treaty and its implementation in India which may have serious implications for the Indian industry. The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) jointly support the programme.

Accordingly, workshops will be held across the nation. During this month, five major cities have been identified for the same. As per information available, the proposed prgramme starts from May 17 in New Delhi followed by meetings on May 19 in Vadodara, May 21 in Pune, May 24 in Bangalore and May 26 in Hyderabad.

Speaking to FE, S Ganesan, co-chairman, ICMA-international treaties expert committee, said: "We collectively will not support the MOEF's efforts, which is aimed at bringing the entire chemical industry under the dark cloud." Mr Ganesan said: "This effort seems to throttle the growth of the chemical industry. The government agencies and CII have no clue about the chemical industry and the practical difficulties faced by it." "Environmental standards, objectives and priorities should reflect the environmental and development context to which they apply. Standards applied by some countries may be inappropriate and of unwarranted economic and social cost to other countries in particular developing countries including India," Mr Ganesan said.

Mr Wolfgang Welter of Bayer CropScience, head of industrial operations, echoes similar views. According to him, any attempt to restrict a particular chemical, drug or pesticide must be based on results of locally relevant risk based assessment process. ICMA has requested the ministry of chemicals that it should stop MOEF from unilaterally promoting POPs Treaty without addressing the reservations of the chemical and pesticides industry against the treaty. ICMA has produced several policy advocacy papers in this regard. MOEF should not be allowed to ignore industry's stand. "The ministry of chemicals must do something immediately," said Mr Ganesan.

Meanwhile, chemical exporters have also joined hands with ICMA. Chemexcil, chairman, Satish Wagh, said: "We support ICMA and there is need to get united to protest such move which can put Indian chemical industry in the doldrums."

POPs include some of the most dangerous pollutants released in the environment as pesticides in industrial purposes or as unintended by-products of combustion and industrial processes. They are highly toxic, persistent, travel long distances and accumulate in fatty tissues. The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants focuses on reducing and eliminating the release of aldrin, dieldrin, endrin, chlordane, mirex, toxaphene, heptachlor, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB).

©heal toxics, 2003
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