NEW DELHI: India has agreed to phase out pesticide endosulfan. At the Geneva meet of the Stockholm Convention, currently underway, India’s concern for the need to identify cost-effective and safe alternatives were accepted.
This means endosulfan will be listed in Annexe A of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants but exemptions will allowed for crop-pest combinations. It will allow India to continue to use this broad spectrum pesticide.
Chemicals listed in the Annex A of the Convention are banned for production and use due to the threat they pose to living beings, particularly the environment.
This will not come as good news for the Left parties or the Kerala government, both of which have been actively seeking an immediate nation-wide ban on endosulfan.
All exemptions sought by India have been accepted. The listing in the Annexe will take one year to be effective, and the exemptions are valid for five years, with the provision for renewal for another five years. Thus, making the time-frame for the global phase 11 years.
India’s concern about the need to identify safe and cost effective alternatives to facilitate phase out of endosulfan are also being addressed. At the Geneva meet, the decision to include endosulfan in the Annexe will be adopted along with a decision asking the Technical POP (Persistent Organic Pollutants) Review Committee to undertake the work of identifying safe and cost effective alternatives. The review committee will report to the Conference of Parties.
This would mean that India can continue to use endosulfan as a broad spectrum pesticide for at least 11 years. While New Delhi’ agreeing to this consensus formula will ease global pressure, it will not address the domestic pressure to ban the use of this broad spectrum pesticide. “I believe that the final outcome is a compromise we can live with and is something that ensures enough room for us to manoeuvre,” Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said.