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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
18 August 2006
The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, has approved Australia’s plan to help reduce damaging and long-lasting pollutants in the environment.
Senator Campbell said the national implementation plan for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) was an important step in Australia’s efforts to reduce some of the world’s most hazardous and environmentally enduring substances.
“POPs are chemicals that stay in the environment for a long time, circulate around the planet and accumulate in the fatty tissue of living organisms. They are toxic to humans and wildlife and have been found in remote parts of the Arctic many thousand of kilometres from their origin,” Senator Campbell said.
“The 12 POPs identified by the convention are aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, toxaphene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), dioxins, furans and hexachlorobenzene (HCB).”
The convention came into force on 17 May 2004, with Australia becoming a party on 18 August 2004.
Senator Campbell said the plan had been developed in consultation with state and territory governments and representatives of peak industry, environment and health groups.
“This plan reflects past and current actions and identifies other actions that Australia will undertake in the future to meet our international obligations under the convention. We will now submit our plan to the United Nations Environment Programme,” he said.
The major actions for Australia will be to complete destruction of the existing stockpile of POPs waste. These include HCB waste stored at the Orica site in Sydney and organochlorine pesticides collected under the ChemCollect programme. Work will also continue on removing PCB from electrical equipment.
“We will also phase-out the use of the pesticide mirex by early 2007, so that Australia’s exemption to use the pesticide under the convention can be withdrawn,” Senator Campbell said.
The plan also underpins action to be taken on dioxins and furans.
Copies of the plan are available at www.deh.gov.au/settlements/chemicals/international/pop.html
More information about the Stockholm Convention is available at http://www.pops.int
Rob Broadfield 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902