Context: HIL (India) Limited, a PSU under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers is the sole manufacturer of DDT globally.
- The company was incorporated in the year 1954 to manufacture and supply DDT to Government of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for malaria control programme.
- The Company is also exporting the product to many African countries.
- DDT is one of the chemicals targeted by the Stockholm Convention
- Spraying of insecticides inside the human habitants i.e. Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) has proven to be effective mosquito control tool.
- World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends DDT as one of the efficient IRS chemicals to curb malaria mosquito menace and it is widely used by Southern African countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique etc. and India.
BRS Conventions – Brief Background
- The Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions are multilateral environmental agreements, which share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes.
- Meetings of the COPs of BRS Conventions are generally held every alternate year.
- To enhance cooperation and coordination among the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions, their respective conferences came out with this so-called “synergies process”
- It aims to strengthen the implementation of the three conventions at the national, regional and global levels by providing coherent policy guidance, reducing their administrative burden, while maintaining the legal autonomy of these three multilateral environmental agreements. (Unique example in context of Global Treaties)
- The Secretariats of the Basel and Stockholm conventions are administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and are located in Geneva, Switzerland.
- The Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention is jointly served by UNEP and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and in Rome, Italy.
- The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, usually known as the Basel Convention, is an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and specifically to prevent the transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries (LDCs).
- It does not, however, address the movement of radioactive waste.
The Convention is also intended to:
- Minimize the amount and toxicity of wastes generated,
- To ensure their environmentally sound management as closely as possible to the source of generation, and
- To assist LDCs in environmentally sound management of the hazardous and other wastes they generate.
- As of October 2018, 186 states and the European Union are parties to the Convention.
- Haiti and the United States have signed the Convention but not ratified it.
- India ratified the Convention in June 1992.
- Its scope of application covers a wide range of wastes defined as “hazardous wastes” based on their origin and/or composition and their characteristics, as well as two types of wastes defined as “other wastes” – household waste and incinerator ash.
- Currently, electronic waste, mobile phones, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and compounds used in industry as heat exchange fluids, in electric transformers and capacitors are among the wastes regulated by the Basel Convention.
- It is the most comprehensive global treaty dealing with hazardous waste materials throughout their lifecycles, from production and transport to final use and disposal.
- The Rotterdam Convention is a multilateral environmental agreement which prescribes obligations on the importers and exporters of certain hazardous chemicals.
- As of now, a total of 47 chemicals are listed in Annex III of the Convention. Out of these, 33 are pesticides and 14 industrial chemicals, which are subject to Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure.
- India ratified the Convention in May 2005.
- Among the chemical substances covered under the Convention, mercury compounds, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) are also substances that are found in e-waste.
- The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from highly dangerous, long-lasting chemicals by restricting and ultimately eliminating their production, use, trade, release and storage.
- Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs):
- Remain intact in the environment for long periods (persistent),
- Become widely distributed geographically (long-range transport),
- Accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife (bioaccumulation), and
- Have a harmful impact on human health, or on the environment (toxic).
- Though not soluble in water, fish, predatory birds, mammals, and humans are high up the food chain and so absorb the greatest concentrations. When they travel, the POPs travel with them.
- As a result of these two processes, POPs can be found in people and animals living in regions such as the Arctic, thousands of kilometers from any major POPs source.
- India ratified the Convention in January 2006.
- To date, 26 chemicals are listed as POPs under the Stockholm Convention. As of now, India has ratified only the 12 initially listed POPs.
- Initially, twelve POPs have been recognized as causing adverse effects on humans and the ecosystem and these can be placed in 3 categories:
Pesticides: aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, mirex, toxaphene;
Industrial Chemicals: hexachlorobenzene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs);
Byproducts: polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDD/PCDF)
The chemicals targeted by the Stockholm Convention are listed in the annexes.
Annex A (Elimination)
- Parties must take measures to eliminate the production and use of the chemicals listed under Annex A.
Annex B (Restriction)
- Parties must take measures to restrict the production and use of the chemicals listed under Annex B in light of any applicable acceptable purposes and/or specific exemptions listed in the Annex.
- DDT falls under this category. Hence its export to South Africa to tackle menace of Malaria.
- The import and export of chemicals listed in this Annex can take place under specific restrictive conditions
Annex C (Unintentional production)
- Parties must take measures to reduce the unintentional releases of chemicals listed under Annex C with the goal of continuing minimization and, where feasible, ultimate elimination.