Stockholm Convention

Definition - What does Stockholm Convention mean?

The Stockholm Convention is a global treaty created to protect living beings and their environments from persistent organic pollutants (POPs)—chemicals that remain intact in the environment for a long period of time and spread across geographies. These elements accumulate in the fatty tissue of living organisms and are extremely toxic to humans and wildlife.

Safeopedia explains Stockholm Convention

Industrial waste and environmental degradation are directly connected. While it's difficult to eliminate our carbon footprint, the signing of the Stockholm Convention was an important start. It came into effect on May 17, 2004, having been ratified by more than 152 countries.

The agreement between countries to reduce the POPs generated will ensure that the environment is free from toxins, making it the perfect habitat for all living organisms. After the signing of the convention, governments will have to take adequate measures to eliminate or reduce the release of POPs.

In short, the Stockholm Convention aims to accomplish the following:

  • Eliminate dangerous POPs
  • Target additional POPs for action
  • Work together for a POPs-free future
  • Support the transition to safer alternatives
  • Eliminate old stockpiles and equipment containing POPs

The Stockholm Convention has categorized POPs according to the level of harm they cause to the environment, thus urging governments to either eliminate or restrict them. Some of the elements that come under the elimination list include Aldrin, Chlordane, Dieldrin, Lindane, Mirex, Hexachlorobutadiene, and Toxaphene. Among the restricted POPs are Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, its salts, and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride.

Some of the POPs are released unintentionally, and governments are therefore urged under the Stockholm Convention to take measures to ensure that these substances are not released into the environment. These substances include:

  • Hexachlorobenzene (HCB)
  • Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD)
  • Pentachlorobenzene
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB)
  • Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDD)
  • Polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDF)
  • Polychlorinated naphthalenes

Categorizing POPs and eliminating them is not the only solution. It's also important to identify new POPs that need to be included in the list. The POP Review Committee is composed of 31 members nominated by parties from the five UN regional groups. The reviews assess the nominated chemicals in three stages. The committee screens elements on the basis of persistence, bioaccumulation, and the potential for long-range transport and toxicity. The committee drafts a risk profile that analyzes the potential risk it may pose to living beings and their surroundings. Following is the drafting of a risk-management evaluation that considers the socioeconomic ramifications it might have on countries if controlled. Any new additions to the POP list are based on all of these above-mentioned factors.

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