Developing countries struggle in fight against POPs

07 May 2007 11:41  [Source: ICIS news]

Developing countries struggle with pollutantsSINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Many developing countries are struggling to keep Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) at bay amid a lack of funding and technical assistance, according to findings at a recent United Nations-backed meeting.


Participants at the third Stockholm Convention on POPs in Senegal last week expressed concern that human health could be adversely affected by the widespread use of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) in Africa and parts of developing Asia.


DDT is one of the 12 toxic chemicals that signatories to the Stockholm Convention on POPs are looking to eliminate globally. The chemical is used primarily used as an insecticide.


Other concerns include the disposal of POP wastes, inadequate financial and technical resources for developing countries and the need for more data on dioxin and furan emissions, especially in Africa.


Abdoulaye Wade, president of Senegal, warned that the continued use of DDT in many African nations would harm human health.


He urged countries to switch from chemical to organic fertilizers, a practice currently in place in Senegal.


Research has shown that the toxicity of DDT does not diminish easily over time in soil and water.


While environmentalists say DDT causes diseases such as cancer and liver damage in humans, the World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed its use as a means to contain malaria and in areas where there are epidemics.


Venezuela expressed concern about WHO’s stand, warning that countries that have banned DDT might resume using it.


Signatories to the Stockholm Convention that allow the use of DDT include Namibia, Uganda and Mozambique.


Separately, delegates discussed the issue of furan and dioxin emissions, with Senegal pushing for more assistance to monitor emissions in Africa.


China pointed out that there was insufficient data on emission factors and urged for increased investment in future research.


The fourth conference on the parties of the Stockholm Convention on POPS will be held in Geneva in 2009.


By: Cheok Soh Hui
+65 6780 4359

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