Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are organic chemical substances that are highly toxic and persist in the environment. Their bio accumulation through the food web poses high risk of causing adverse effects on human health and environment. The world community recognized the need to eliminate POPs and thus, in its attempt to address this pervasive global issue, signed the Stockholm Convention in 2001.
The convention was adopted in 2004.Under the treaty the countries agreed to reduce or eliminate the production, use, and/or release of twelve key POPs (called the dirty dozen) However, sixteen more chemicals of global concerns were added to the list. Endosulphan and HBCD have also been included in the category of POPs. India is a signatory to the Stockholm Convention and ratified the convention in 2006, as an endeavor to phase out the production and emission of POPs.
Acknowledging the gravity of the threat posed, Toxics Link started working on POPs and became the first to raise the issue in the sub-continent. For the past 20 years the organization has been actively engaged on the issue of persistent organic pollutants and seeking appropriate solutions for India. In 2000, the organisation published a report titled “The Trojan Horses- Persistent Organic Pollutants in India” which drew considerable attention on the issue, across the country. It has also published a series of literature and research papers on the situation of POPs in India and the South Asian region. The literature not only helped in providing a better understanding of policy framework but also proved crucial during the negotiations of Stockholm Convention.
After the Convention came into force, Toxics link was designated as the South Asian regional hub of International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN). The project involved eighteen non -governmental organizations from the region, who executed various projects to eliminate and reduce POPs.
Toxics Link has also organised a series of consultations, meetings, seminars and published various reports, articles, information materials on the issue. The organization has conducted various capacity building and awareness generation programmes for the management and elimination of POPs.
The organization was also consulted during preparation of the National Implementation Plan (NIP) by the Government of India.
Presently, Toxics Link is engaging with the key stakeholders for an effective implementation of NIP in India. Further the organisation also contributes to the international dialogues on new POPs and represents COPs meetings on Stockholm Convention.
For the past 20 years Toxics Link has been working on the issue of pesticides.The report “The Trojan Horse: Persistent Organic Pollutants in India” highlighted the menace of pesticides (POPs) and helped to understand the situation of pesticides use in India. The report also galvanized various policy dialogues in India on Stockholm Convention.
In 2002, Toxics Link carried out an investigative report on the death of the farmers in Warangal District of Andhra Pradesh, due to exposure to pesticides. Ironically the findings were challenged by the industry in the Supreme Court of India. However, the Court upheld the findings of Toxics Link study in 2010 (http://www.greenlightdhaba.org/2010/08/activists-win-against-pesticide.html).
Apart from the interventions in agricultural pesticides, Toxics Link has also initiated a series of activities in the area of household pesticides. There are no regulations in place in India to manage the household pesticides. Toxics Link has also been engaged extensively on various policy issues of pesticide management, DDT, pesticides standards in Food Safety Act 2006, Pesticides Management Bill, Stockholm Convention and banning of Endosulphan.