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Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants

The Stockholm Convention

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, move long distances in the global environment, bio-accumulate in the fatty tissues of living organisms and elicit harmful effects to humans and the wildlife. The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is an international treaty to protect human health and the environment from these potentially toxic POPs. In implementing the Convention, Parties to the Convention will take measures to control/restrict the trade, domestic production and use of ten intentionally produced POPs (aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), mirex, toxaphene and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)), and to reduce and where possible to ultimately eliminate the production and release of two unintentionally produced POPs by-products (polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs or dioxins) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs or furans)). These initial twelve most toxic POPs identified by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) are commonly referred to as the "Dirty Dozen".

The Stockholm Convention was adopted on 22 May, 2001 in Stockholm, Sweden. The Convention entered into force on 17 May, 2004. The People's Republic of China (PRC) signed the Stockholm Convention on 23 May, 2001 and ratified the Convention on 13 August, 2004. The Convention became effective to the PRC, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), on 11 November, 2004.

The Stockholm Convention was amended in 2009 and 2011 to list 10 new POPs in its Annexes.  These POPs can be placed in three categories:

  • Pesticides: chlordecone, α-hexachlorocyclohexane, β-hexachlorocyclohexane, lindane, pentachlorobenzen, technical endosulfan and its related isomers
  • Industrial chemicals: hexabromobiphenyl, hexabromodiphenyl ether and heptabromodiphenyl ether, pentachlorobenzene; and
  • Unwanted by-products of industrial processes: α-hexachlorocyclohexane, β-hexachlorocyclohexane and pentachlorobenzene.

The PRC tendered its acceptance to the above amendments on 26 December 2013.  The amendments were entered into force in China (including HKSAR) on 26 March 2014.

The Stockholm Convention was amended in 2013 to list a new industrial chemical, hexabromocyclododecane, in its Annex.  The PRC tendered its acceptance to the above amendment on 27 September 2016. The amendment was entered into force in China (including HKSAR) on 26 December 2016.

The Stockholm Convention text and related information can be found at the Convention's website: http://www.pops.int.

 

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User review date: 
Tuesday, 26 January, 2016