Banned by UN Accord
An agreement to eliminate the world's most
harmful pollutants, known as the "Dirty Dozen", was reached on the
10th December 2000 by more than 120 countries including Britain.
The United Nations Environment Programme Accord
will prohibit or heavily restrict the manufacture and use of eight pesticides,
two chemicals, plus dioxins and furans (two by-products of combustion).
The dozen, known as persistent organic
pollutants (POPS), have been linked to cancer and birth defects.
Peter Hinchcliffe, Head of the Chemicals and
Biotechnology Division at the Department of the Environment, Transport and the
Regions, said after the talks in Johannesburg: "We've got a convention that
binds parties to prohibit the production and use of the Dirty Dozen."
Industrialised nations have already banned many of the pollutants, but they are
still used in the developing world. "It does not matter where you are in
the world, you are still exposed," Dr Hinchcliffe said.
The deal requires rich nations, such as Britain,
to pay developing countries to phase out the pollutants, use alternatives and
destroy stockpiles. They have been given a five-year deadline to halt the use of
the 10 pesticides and chemicals covered by the UN Accord. If they fail, the
countries will be required to justify their continued use of them.
Dr Hinchcliffe said that Britain and the other
European Union states were particularly pleased at the restrictions on dioxins
and furans, some of which are emitted by British chemical plants. "One of
the successes for the European Union team was to ensure that we got in the goal
of the ultimate elimination of these by-product POPs," he said. Next year
British Industry will have to declare the estimated tonnages of dioxins and
furans being produced and make proposals to eliminate them.
The agreement, which will be signed in Stockholm
in May, had been in doubt. It was feared that differences between the United
States, Canada and Japan with Europe could have caused the talks to collapse in
a similar way to the global warming convention in The Hague in November 2000. A
Greenpeace spokesman said of the deal: "It sends a clear message to
industry that they must reform and stop using the world as a dumping ground for
their dangerous pollutants".
The dirty dozen
insecticide used to control beetles and termites
similar to Aldrin
insecticide used to control soil-born pests
insecticide used to kill mosquitoes
by products of chemical and combustion industries
Furans: similiar to Dioxins
pesticide used to control birds, rats and insects
a fungicide used to protect onion and wheat seed
wood treatment and insecticide
insecticide used against termites, fire ants and mealybugs
used in electrical equipment, flame retardants, paints and plastics
used to kill ticks on livestock and fruit, cereal and nut pests
Source: The Times, 11th December 2000