India secures several exemptions on endosulfan ban: Official

Last Updated: Friday, April 29, 2011 - 18:41

Geneva: Amid demands for a total ban on
endosulfan at home, India and a few developing nations on Friday
managed to secure several exemptions, including a phase out
period of 11 years to implement the ban on production and use
of the toxic pesticide at an international conference here.

"All the exemptions demanded by India and other
developing countries, particularly a long phase-out period as
well as access to safe and cost-effective alternatives, have
been agreed," a senior official of the Environment Ministry
said here today.

At the concluding session of the Conference of the
Parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic
Pollutants (POPs) here a final decision will be adopted based
on two draft decisions that take on board India`s concerns,
the official said.

Endosulfan is widely used in cultivation of several
agricultural crops.

After intense negotiations over the last five days as
to how the Parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent
Organic Pollutants must deal with endosulfans, India and other
developing countries such as Indonesia have agreed to join the
"consensus" because the two draft decisions fully address all
their concerns, said another developing country official.

Under draft A, the parties to the Stockholm convention
on POPs have agreed to include endosulfan in Annex A of banned
organic chemicals.

Once the parties adopt the decision to include
endosulfan in the Annex A, they will have a period eleven
years- in two instalments- to phase out the use and ban of
endosulfan which is currently used in the cultivation of about
15-20 crops such as cotton, coffee and maize.

The second draft deals with a work programme in which
countries heavily dependent on the production and use of
endosulfan until now will be provided "safe and cost-effective
alternatives that would include technical assistance as well
as access to latest scientific know-how", the official said.

These two draft decisions are expected to be merged
during the final session in the evening today.

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

In addition to endosulfan, there will be eight
other new other PoPs that will be included in the Annex A due
to several harmful effects on the environment, and
bioaccumulation in organisms (increases in concentration up
the food chain).

India adopted a tough negotiating position on
endosulfan in the face of intense domestic political
agitations as well as attempts by European countries to
steamroll a decision with few exemptions.

Several developing countries also called for
"exceptions" and unimpeded access to alternatives in the event
endosulfan is included in Annex A list of chemicals by the
Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC).

Initially, India raise opposition to the inclusion
of the recommendation to include endosulfan in Annex A by the
Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC).

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 practice in all multilateral
meetings.

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.

PTI



First Published: Friday, April 29, 2011 - 18:41

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