The conference approved as many as 100 chemical alternatives.

The Conference of Parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, meeting in Geneva, approved non-chemical as well as chemical alternatives to endosulfan on Thursday.

The non-chemical alternatives were proposed in a significant departure from past practice. The evaluation of non-chemical alternatives, as accepted by the conference, consists of an ecosystem-based approach to pest management as well as technical interventions.

C. Jayakumar of the non-governmental organisation Thanal, who is in Geneva as an observer, said in an e-mail message that now that non-chemical alternatives to endosulfan are accepted officially by the UN Convention, ‘‘there is lot of scope for India and others to explore and be world leaders in providing the solutions to farming without poisons.’’

The conference approved as many as 100 chemical alternatives to endosulfan subject to certain reservations. The approved chemical alternatives include pesticides malathion, aldicarb, carbofuran, cabaryl, fipronil, methyl parathion, and pyrethrin, which are used in India.

The approval essentially takes note of the report on the assessment of chemical and non-chemical alternatives to endosulfan carried out by the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee of the convention and encourages parties to consider the outcome of the assessment when choosing alternatives to endosulfan for the use of crop-pest complexes available as specific exemptions.

Further assessment

The decision emphasised the need for further assessment under local conditions prevailing in the context of specific agro-ecosystems and agricultural practices and giving priority to ecosystem-based approaches to pest control. The conference requested its secretariat to undertake activities to support parties in evaluating the information on alternatives to the use of endosulfan in their countries, including the information made available through the work programme on endosulfan.

The convention had decided upon phased elimination of endosulfan and its related isomers in 2011 with specific exemptions that included use on multiple crop-pest complexes. As a follow-up to that, it had launched the work programme for evaluating alternatives, as wanted by India and other countries. The review committee was asked to support the development and deployment of alternatives.

Of the 110 chemical alternatives considered by the committee, dicofol was dropped as it was considered a potential persistent organic pollutant. Nine others needed further evaluation.

India, Canada, and China raised concerns that the draft decision encouraged parties to avoid using dicofol prior to (full) review, and requested the committee to assess nine additional chemicals that might meet the criteria before adoption by parties.

Benin, Uganda, Kenya, Morocco, Venezuela, and Togo reported that they had banned endosulfan use and import and were already using alternatives.