by China Daily
China is preparing to ratify an international convention
aimed at controlling toxic pollutants.
Officials with China's State Environmental Protection Administration
(SEPA) said Tuesday an application for the ratification has been
submitted to the National People's Congress, the country's top
China is already working on a national plan to implement the
convention, said Wang Jirong, vice minister of SEPA, during a
Sino-US workshop Tuesday on implementation of the convention.
The Stockholm Convention on POPs (persistent organic pollutants)
was signed by about 150 countries, including China, in May, 2001.
It entered into force on May 17 this year.
POPs are highly toxic chemical substances that threaten human
health and the environment. Well-known POPs are DDT used to combat
malaria, and PCBs, used as electrical insulators in transformers,
capacitors and other electrical equipment. The convention aims
to initially control 12 POPs, including DDT and PCBs.
The country is also working towards developing alternatives to
Both experts and officials agreed China faces an uphill battle.
Yue Runsheng, an senior official with SEPA's department of international
co-operation, said the country should improve its POPs policy
and legal systems, management and basic study and risk assessment.
The country also faces a lack of professionals as well as of
the funds to develop techniques for substituting, treating and
reducing POPs, he said.
Yet the reduction and elimination of POPs require great input.
For example, although China has stopped producing PCBs, it is
estimated there are tens of thousands of tons of PCBs across the
"We are not sure where such PCBs are and therefore to spot
them needs huge input," Yue said.
According to Zang Wenchao, who works with SEPA's division of
solid waste and chemicals, China will tighten control over chemicals,
New measures will include the establishment of a national chemical
and pesticide management system, achieving safe treatment of hazardous
chemical waste and seeking more international financial and technical
China is one of the world's largest chemical products producers.
Among the nine included in the convention's POPs list, five were
once mass produced in China, and four are still produced and used
in some places.
POPs have been found in crops, fruits, tea leaves, animals and