BEIJING, 11 November 2011 – China today celebrates its 10-year involvement in the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), a global treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from chemicals that remain intact for long periods, and have adverse effects on human health and the environment.
Persistent organic pollutants are organic compounds that are resistant to environmental degradation through chemical, biological, and photolytic processes. Because of this, they have been observed to persist in the environment, to be capable of long-range transport, bioaccumulate in human and animal tissue, biomagnify in food chains, and to have potential significant impacts on human health and the environment.
Many POPs are currently or were in the past used as pesticides. Others are used in industrial processes and in the production of a range of goods such as solvents, polyvinyl chloride, and pharmaceuticals. Most POPs are created by humans in industrial processes, either intentionally or as byproducts.
Today’s ceremony in the capital, Beijing, was attended by senior UNIDO officials, among them Managing Director, Wilfried Luetkenhorst, and the chief of the UNIDO Stockholm Convention Unit and Deputy Director, Environmental Management Branch, Mohamed Eisa.
“China is the top recipient of funds for the implementation of the Convention, with 9 projects funded through the Global Environment Facility with a total budget of USD 84 million,” said Luetkenhorst.
“UNIDO supports China with projects in the sectors of bulb and papers, the metallurgical sector and medical waste management. Our goal is to help the country strengthen its institutions for the execution of the National Implementation Plan under the Stockholm Convention and introduce environmentally sustainable management and safe disposal of its medical waste.”
A 5-year UNIDO project entitled “Environmental sustainable management of medical waste in China”, launched in 2008, aims to reduce and ultimately eliminate the release of unintentionally produced POPs and other globally harmful pollutants into the environment, and assist China in implementing its obligations under the Stockholm Convention.
The project promotes the widespread adoption of best available techniques and practices in the evolving medical waste management infrastructure and industry to reduce adverse environmental impacts and protects human health.
The Stockholm Convention, adopted in 2001 and effective since 2004, requires Parties to take measures to eliminate or reduce the release of POPs into the environment. The Convention is administered by the United Nations Environment Programme and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
For more information please contact:
Head, UNIDO Stockholm Convention Unit and Deputy Director, Environmental Management Branch