Pact on POPs

The Indian government has finally signed the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). The agreement aims at reducing and eliminating 12 deadly POPs from the environment. Though the decision was taken by Union minister for environment and forests T R Baalu in March 2002, the agreement has been signed only in May.

While India's decision to sign the convention has been welcomed by all, the need for ratification has been stressed. "India signing the convention is a good step, but ratifying it is a bigger challenge for us,' says Ravi Agarwal, coordinator of New Delhi-based non-governmental organisation Srishti.

The convention will come into force only after 50 countries have ratified it, of which eight have done so. POPs include dichloro diphenyl trichloroethane (DDT), toxaphene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, furans, hexachloro benzene (HCB), chlordane, dieldrin, endrin, aldrin, mirex and heptachlor.