Day 4, April 28: Talks opened with a discussion on the continuation of DDT. DDT is currently listed under Annex B of the Stockholm Convention. Listing in Annex B means that the chemical/pesticide has to be phased out eventually; it is banned with certain exemptions and till such time that an alternative can be found. In India DDT is being used only as a vector disease control. India on its part reported that they were producing DDT under strict control and that the use of the chemical has come down to half from 10,000 metric ton in 1997 to 5,500 metric ton in 2010.
On the other hand, endosulfan was discussed by the contact group on new POPs of the Stockholm Convention and is inching towards a global ban. What needs to be seen is whether it makes it to Annex A, which means a complete ban or Annex B, which means a phase out that is time bound.
The contact group on endosulfan was chaired by Qatar. The news trickling out of the convention is that there is a document on endosulfan that has been prepared which might become the final document after a few edits and will be presented to the plenary for a decision, most likely on day 5.
The draft document of the contact group takes note of the recommendations by the POPRC to list technical endosulfan, its related isomers and endosulfan sulfate in Annex A of the convention, with specific exemptions. The group is yet to deliberate on pest-crop complex and the countries that have requested for the exemption. India is one of the countries that have requested for an exemption. China is backing it. Earlier Samoa too had called for suspending the proposal of listing endosulfan till a cost effective alternative could be worked out.
The Indian delegation, that has been harping on FAO reports that showed endosulfan was not hazardous, however received a jolt when FAO refuted India's claim and stated that endosulfan is a hazardous pesticide.
C Jayakumar of Thanal who is at Geneva as an observer said that though he was hopeful, one cannot be sure of the strategy of the Indian industry. “They could either get India to change its position or get a small country to block and delay the decision,” he said. It is most likely that the decision will be taken by consensus and not a vote.
For one, the pesticide lobby was heard spreading rumors that the observers from Kerala, C Jayakumar of Thanal and Mohammed Asheel of Kerala Health Services were separatists and thats the reason why Kerala had a separate opinion. “Many countries came to us saying that these messages were being spread about us,” said Asheel.
However, all eyes are now set on Day 5 and the discussion in the plenary session.