Stockholm Convention: Persistent Organic Pollutants
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) are types of organic substances that are unaffected by environmental degradation. Because of their resistance, these substances bio accumulate in the tissues of terrestrial and aquatic creatures, causing harm to humans and wildlife alike. These substances can cause severe health effects like the occurrence of tumors, birth defects, damage to the nervous and immune system, as well as the reproductive system. Due to their direct negative effects on human and environmental health, a convention was set forth. The Stockholm Convention is an international agreement signed and agreed upon by the United Nations Environmental Program to decrease or eradicate the discharge of POPs into the Environment.
The treaty was signed in the year 2001 in Stockholm, Sweden, and enforced by May 2004. The Convention lays out the obligations of the parties in a series of articles explaining each parameter of the POP and how they are going to be dealt with. The Convention is also organized into 7 Annexes from A to G. The first 3 Annexes list the POPs in groups. The groups depend on POPs production and exemptions. Annex A categorized as Elimination, Annex B categorized as Restriction, and Annex C as Unintentional Production.
Annex A, lists substances that should be reduced or eliminated from production, with allowance of specific exemptions set forth in the treaty and under obstructive conditions. Annex B, contains substances that can be produced under restricted regulations. While, Annex C, promotes the most innovative techniques to restrict or reduce the release of the substances from anthropogenic sources. The later Annexes explain rules and regulations for newer substances to be added. However, the substances would need to be identified and include parameters and a risk profile.
The threat of POPs is a very serious global issue. As mentioned earlier, it can lead to many negative effects on health. The Convention was made through the unity of many countries to deal with this issue. The Convention addresses detailed information about the prevention and reduction of POPs.