The Ministry of Environment and Forest ( MoEF) released its National Implementation Plan (NIP) on May 4, 2011, three years after they missed the deadline.
The NIP is drafted in compliance to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, of which India is a signatory. As per Article 7 of the Convention, all parties are required to develop a National Implementation Plan (NIP). This plan demonstrates how countries will implement their obligations committed to the Convention.
Now according to the rules, the NIP should be submitted within two years of a country ratifying to the Stockholm Convention and making it applicable for itself. The convention came into force in India on April 13, 2006, so the deadline for the submission of the draft was April 2008. Which India missed. Instead, the MoEF drafted the plan by March 2011 and after receiving comments sent it to the convention only in April this year.
An MoEF official cited lack of funds and delay in getting submissions from stakeholders as the reason for missing the deadline. The official assured that the convention would not penalize India for delay in the submissions.
The delay however did raise concerns of India's seriousness in complying with the Stockholm Convention, especially after it agreed to the conditional ban on endosulfan at the COP (Conference of Parties) meeting in Geneva held in April.
"The delay in drafting the national implementation plan shows India's poor track record in complying with the Stockholm Convention. It is going to be a wait and watch situation as to how India moves ahead on phasing out and eventually banning endosulfan," said Gopal Krishna of Toxic Watch Alliance, an advocacy group in Delhi.
The phasing out process of endosulfan will be carried out on the basis of the NIP submitted. Though the current plan has no mention of how India will go about phasing out endosulfan and eventually eliminating it.
The objective of the convention is to protect human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants. The convention, initially, sought restriction or/and elimination of production and release of 12 chemicals. These included organochlorine pesticides like Aldrin, Chlordane and DDT, industrial chemicals like Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Hexachlorobenzene (HCB)) and unintentionally produced chemicals like Dioxin and Furan.
With the NIP submitted, it is the MoEF that will now coordinate its implementation which is spread over a period of 12 years, from 2011-2022.
|Written by Pratibha Rialch