International experts share information on alternatives to POPs in Articles

The addition of new Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) to the Stockholm Convention in 2009, 2011 and 2013 brought a number of new challenges to Parties in their efforts to reduce or eliminate releases from intentional production and use of POPs. Among these issues are the identification and sound management of industrial POPs that have been integrated into articles and products throughout their life-cycle.

POPs in Articles have taken center stage at two recent events co-organized by the Basel Convention Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific/Stockholm Convention Regional Centre for Capacity-building and the Transfer of Technology in Asia and the Pacific (BCRC Beijing/SCRCAP) and Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Secretariat).

The “POPs in Articles and POPs Expert Meeting” was held on August 23-24, 2013 in Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. The workshop addressed challenges Parties face from the lack of information on the use and presence of new POPs in supply chains and production processes, as well as in recycling and waste stream. The meeting also addressed monitoring of POPs in articles.

Prof. Jinhui Li, Executive Director of BCRC Beijing/SCRCAP, and Ms. Jacqueline Alvarez, BRS Secretariat, opened the workshop with an overview POPs-free products and POPs alternatives. Experts next made presentations on a guidance document under the Stockholm Convention, and various POPs-free projects carried out by regional centres, nongovernmental organizations, UNEP, and others. An outline of an electronic publication compiling existing information related to POPs in articles was discussed and amended by the participants.

The meeting was attended by 20 experts from Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), BRS Secretariat, International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN), and Stockholm Convention Regional Centres in Brazil, China, Czech, India, Nigeria, and Spain, and other international experts.

The focus on POPs in Articles continued in a side event to the ninth meeting of the POPs Review Committee, in Rome, on 18 October 2013. Prof. Li and Ms. Alvarez, who introduced the session, were joined by Mr. Joe DiGangi, Senior Science and Technical Advisor, International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) and Mr. Roland Weber, POPs Environmental Consulting (Germany). Mr. DiGangi presented the results of IPEN’s Toxic Toys campaign to eliminate POPs from children’s products. Mr. Roland Weber reported on the preparation of the POPs in Articles publication via webinar.

The Beijing expert meeting was organized under the “Project on the sound management of POPs in articles and phasing-out opportunities in emerging countries” , which is funded by the Governments of Germany and Norway and GIZ-Germany, and carried out by BCRC Beijing/SCRCAP from December 2012 to December 2013.

The POPs in Articles electronic publication will be posted in the Stockholm Convention website and presented to the Parties to the Stockholm Convention for their information at the seventh meeting of the Conference on the Parties to the Convention, scheduled to be held in May 2015.