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).