The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from POPs. Governments implementing the Convention will take measures to eliminate or reduce the release of POPs into the environment. Control measures apply to import, export, production, disposal and use of POPs. Participating governments will also promote the best available techniques and best environmental practices for replacing POPs while preventing the production and use of new ones. The Australian Government ratified the Stockholm Convention on 20 May 2004. Obligations relating to the Convention came into force for Australia on 18 August 2004.
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
POPs are pesticide and industrial chemicals that are persistent in the environment, bioaccumulate in organisms, are toxic to human health and the environment, and are transported long distances. POPs are characterised by:
- persistence - the ability to resist degradation in various media (air, water, soil and sediments, and organisms) for months, years and even decades
- bioaccumulation - the ability to concentrate or accumulate in living tissues at concentrations higher than those in the surrounding environment,
- toxicity - evidence of toxicity or ecotoxicity that indicates the potential for damage to human health or the environment, and
- potential for long range environmental transport - the potential to travel great distances from the source of release through various media (air, water, and/or migratory species).
More on the Stockholm Convention can be found on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.
Chemicals subject to the Stockholm and Rotterdam Convention