Date:20/11/2005 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2005/11/20/stories/2005112007451000.htm
Moves on to ban use
|It could be listed as Persistent Organic Pollutants under
Lindane widely used in India has adverse impact on health,
"India does not have reliable facilities to test harmful
Workshop to discuss safer alternatives
NEW DELHI: With the last Conference of Parties
under the Stockholm Convention proposing to include lindane, a
highly toxic chemical, in the list of 12 Persistent Organic
Pollutants (POP), its use could be banned in the next two to three
years. The POP Review Committee is studying this pesticide along
with four other chemicals recommended to be included in the POP
list. Lindane is widely produced and used in India and has been
proved to have an adverse impact on the health and environment.
The proposal for listing lindane under POP was
mooted by Mexico at the Uruguay Conference of Parties held in
Uruguay in May 2005. The review committee will study the profile of
the chemical, its harmful effects and its presence in the human
body, following which the social and economic cost of the
elimination of the chemical and its possible alternatives would be
looked into. "This process will take about three years but then
countries can take exemption on various grounds like India has done
for the use of DDT, used for malaria prevention," Ravi Agarwal of
Toxics Links, a non-governmental organisation working in the field
of environment, said.
Meanwhile, hot on the heels of India deciding to
ratify the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Stockholm
Convention, which aims to reduce and eliminate 12 of the most toxic
chemicals known to man, civil society groups from five South Asian
countries have gathered here to identify actions urgently needed to
protect human health and environment from the adverse effects of
Of immediate concern are chemicals such as DDT,
widely used for malaria control, and dioxins and furans — unintended
by-products of industrial processes and medical and municipal
wastes, Mr. Agarwal said. Such chemicals enter the human body
through the food chain, and transmit from generation-to-generation,
causing severe health problems such as endocrine disruption,
reproductive disorders and cancer. Often referred to as the `dirty
dozen,' POPs include DDT, aldrin, dieldrin, endrin, chlordane,
heptachlor, mirex, toxaphene, hexachlorobenzene, polychlorinated
biphenyls, dioxins and furans.
"India or the region does not even have any
reliable facilities to monitor or measure them. There is little data
on stockpiles of such chemicals, despite studies showing
environmental and food chain contamination in many places," he said.
Indians have the highest levels of DDT in their bodies in the world.
Data shows that POPs' widespread use for the past 100 years have led
to serious environmental damage.
Recognising the existing gap, the workshop seeks
to increase levels of awareness, understanding, and knowledge among
various stakeholders, especially public interest organisations,
concerning the status of POPs and their impact besides discussing
sustainable and safer alternatives.
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