The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants will come into force on May 17 now that 50 states have ratified it, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs announced yesterday. France was the 50th state.

"New Zealand signed the POPs convention in May 2001 and we have the statutory framework in place, to enable ratification before the May start-date," Ms Hobbs said.

"The Stockholm Convention will protect human health and the environment by banning the production use and trade of certain POPs and minimising emissions of others."

Persistent organic pollutants are chemicals that are toxic, resist decay and bioaccumulate through the food chain. They can be transported far from their site of origin by wind and seas currents.

The chemicals banned under the Stockholm Convention include aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, hexachlorobenzene, toxaphene, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Dioxin emissions are also to be minimised under the Convention. These chemicals accumulate in living tissues, posing a threat to human and animal health.

Herald Feature: Conservation and Environment

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