Kathmandu, November 4
Nepal has managed to dispose of 74.5 metric tonnes of highly toxic pesticides in the past 11 years since it signed the Stockholm Convention in Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2002.
The convention seeks to eliminate or restrict production and use of all intentionally produced POPs. This convention was adopted in response to the urgent need for global action to protecthuman health and the environment from POPs.
These are chemicals that are highly toxic,persistent, bio-accumulate and move long distances in the environment.
The 12 POPsrecognised as requiring the most urgent action includes pesticides such as DDT, chlordane, heptachlor, aldrin, dieldrin, endrin, toxaphene and mirex; industrial chemicalssuch as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and dioxins andfurans as unwanted byproducts.
In this contest, Nepal developed National Implementation Plan with detailed records of such chemicals in 2004 and submitted it to the secretariat of the convention. “Nepal disposed of 74.5 metric tonnes of pesticides as part of implementation of the plan and destroyed highly toxic PCB contained in transformers and transformer oil available in Nepal Electricity Authority to make them environment-friendly,” the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment said.
The MoSTE was successful in processing the transformers and oil in a manner to make them worth reusing.
Meanwhile, the government has launched a project “The Enabling Activities to Review and Update the National Implementation Plan for Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in Nepal” to update and make timely changes to the National Implementation Plan-2007.
The soon-to-be submitted National Implementation Plan with revision will include 10 more POPs added in 2009 and 2011. This project is expected to complete its works within a year.
According to a statement released by the MoSTE, it is highly critical to ensure appropriate management and disposal of such highly toxic pesticides to prevent their them from being exposed to the people. The government is committed to making and implementing necessary policies for this purpose.
Some chemicals once released into the environment cause toxic reactions, persist in the environment for years, travel thousands of kilometres from where they were used, and threaten long term health and invite ecological consequences that were never anticipated or intended.
A version of this article appears in print on November 05, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.