The Conference of Parties to the Stockholm Convention in Geneva on Friday approved the recommendation for elimination of production and use of endosulfan and its isomers worldwide, subject to certain exemptions.

The decision will not be binding on India unless specifically ratified by the country. However, the Indian delegation to the Convention concurred with the decision after its concerns about exemptions and financial assistance were addressed, according to information reaching here.

The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee to the Convention, which recommended the ban last year, will work with parties and observers to come up with alternatives to endosulfan. The Convention will also approve financial assistance to developing countries for replacing endosulfan with alternatives.

The actual decision is to list technical endosulfan and related isomers in Part I Annex A to the Convention with specific exemptions for production as allowed in the Register of Specific Exemptions and/or use on crop-pest complexes as listed with the decision. This would require 173 countries, which are parties to the Convention, to take steps for a ban on production and use of endosulfan. However, exemptions will be available for five years, extendable for another five years. The listing takes one year to be effective.

Exemptions will be available for application of endosulfan against 44 pests in 22 crops — cotton, jute, coffee, tea, tobacco, cowpeas, beans, tomato, okra, eggplant, onion, potato, chillies, apple, mango, gram, arhar, maize, paddy/rice, wheat, groundnuts and mustard. The pests include aphids in most of the exempted crops, bollworms, jassids, whiteflies, thrips and leafroller in cotton, Bihar hairy caterpillar and yellow mites in jute and berry borer and stem borer in coffee. For tea, application of endosulfan is allowed for a host of pests including caterpillars and tea mosquitoes. Endosulfan will be allowed to be used against hopper and fruit fillies in mango and several pests in tomato. In rice, use will be permitted against white jassids, stem borer, gall midge and rice hispa and in wheat against termites and pink borer, besides aphids.

The conference took the decision after considering the risk profile and risk management evaluation for endosulfan done by the Review Committee and the exemptions decided upon by contact group on endosulfan and new persistent organic pollutants.

Endosulfan is the 22nd chemical to be listed in the Convention.