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Ratification of the Stockholm Convention

Ratification of the Stockholm Convention

Context:

The Union Cabinet has approved the ratification of the Stockholm Convention by banning seven hazardous chemicals that are harmful to health and the environment.

  • The seven banned chemicals are listed as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) under the Stockholm Convention.
    • These are: (i) Chlordecone, (ii) Hexabromobiphenyl, (iii) Hexabromodiphenyl ether and Heptabromodiphenylether, (iv) Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and Pentabromodiphenyl ether, (v) Pentachlorobenzene, (vi) Hexabromocyclododecane, and (vii) Hexachlorobutadiene.

Details:

  • The Cabinet has delegated its powers to ratify chemicals under the Stockholm Convention to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MOEFCC) in respect of POPs already regulated under the domestic regulations thereby streamlining the procedure.

Impact:

  • Exposure to POPs can lead to cancer, damage to central and peripheral nervous systems, diseases of the immune system, reproductive disorders, and child development. 
  • The regulation prohibited the manufacture, trade, use, import, and export of these chemicals.
  • The ratification process would enable India to access the Global Environment Facility (GEF) financial resources in updating the National Implementation Plan (NIP).
  • The Cabinet further delegated its powers to ratify chemicals under the Stockholm Convention to Union Ministers of External Affairs and Environment with regard to POPs already regulated under the domestic regulations thereby streamlining the procedure.

The Stockholm Convention:

  • It is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from POPs, which are identified as chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate in living organisms, adversely affect human health/environment, and have the property of long-range environmental transport.
  • India had ratified the Stockholm Convention in 2006. The Ministry of Environment had notified the 'Regulation of Persistent Organic Pollutants Rules in 2018 under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • India had ratified as per Article 25 (4), which enabled it to keep itself in a default "opt-out" position such that amendments in various Annexes of the convention cannot be enforced on it unless an instrument of ratification/acceptance/approval or accession is explicitly deposited with the UN depositary.
  • POPs are listed in various Annexes to the Stockholm Convention after thorough scientific research, deliberations, and negotiations among member countries.

The Global Environment Facility:

  • It was established in 1991 as a pilot program with the World Bank.
  • Objective: To assist in the protection of the global environment and to promote environmental sustainability development.
  • It was restructured and become a permanent, separate institution in 1992 during the Rio Earth Summit with objectives to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems.

Source: All India Radio