India calls for consensus-based decision on endosulfan

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 00:14

Geneva: Amid demands for a central ban on
endosulfan at home, India on Tuesday said any final recommendation
on the ban of the pesticide must be based on "consensus" as
well as thorough scientific and technical evidence.

During the ongoing fifth meeting of the Conference of
the Parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic
Pollutants here, a senior Environment Ministry official
intervened twice to drive home the message that India wants to
know the scientific and technical data underlying the
recommendation by the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review
Committee (POPRC) to include endosulfan in Annex A.

Several other developing nations have also called for
"exceptions" and unimpeded access to alternatives in the event
endosulfan is included in Annex A list of chemicals by the
POPRC.

Even as Kerala Chief Minister VS Achutahananandan
raised the political heat by calling for the immediate ban of
endosulfan, the Centre adopted a cautious position that all
aspects relating to this deadly pesticide must be properly
examined and decided through consensus.

Chemicals listed in Annex A are banned for production
and use due to the threat they pose to living beings,
particularly environment. In its review meeting last year,
POPRC included endosulfan in Annex A.

India said a decision on endosulfan must be based on
"consensus" as per the practise in all multilateral meetings.

In the face of concerted lobbying by a group of
industrialised countries in Europe who are calling for a vote
to decide the proposed ban on endosulfan, India along with
several developing countries said there should be no departure
from "consensus" decision-making process, sources said.

Further, several developing countries in Asia and
Africa pressed for more information on "alternatives" to
endosulfan if it is included in the Annex A.

Along with India, Indonesia and Uganda among others
demanded financial and technical assistance, especially
unimpeded access to the latest technology for producing other
alternatives.

Given the differences between the industrialised
countries on one side who want the ban of production and use
of endosulfan, and developing countries who are demanding
technical and financial assistance as well as transfer of
technology during the phase-out period, the COP5 has
constituted a contact group to examine all the issues and
suggest its recommendations.

"There is a sharp division on endosulfan within and
outside India," said Barun Mitra, a non-governmental
participant.

He said while Kerala is opposed to the use of this
pesticide, cotton producing states - Gujarat, Maharastra,
and Andhra Pradesh - want to continue with endosulfan.

A chemical can be listed in the Stockholm Convention
as a persistent organic pollutant when it shows that it
persists in the environment, bioaccumulates in organisms
(increases in concentration up the food chain), travels
through environment over long distances from the region of its
release.

India, China, Israel, Brazil and South Korea are among
the leading producers of endosulfan in the world with an
annual production estimated between 18,000 and 20,000 tonnes
per year.

"Its use as a plant protection product is the most
relevant emission source for endosulfin," according to a risk
management study of this chemical.

Already some 60 countries have banned the use of this
deadly pesticide after they found viable alternatives.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 00:14

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