Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)May 8, 2015
Celebrating 10 years of successful POPs project implementation in China and abroad, UNDP China with its government counterpart Foreign Economic Cooperation Office (FECO) Ministry of Environmental Protection is rolling out an international campaign against the 23 POPs.
1. Watch and share the POPs animation video with #StopthePOPs!
2. Play and share POPs Hunter! Download the game through the App store and start hunting today to win POPs-themed exciting prizes!
3. Educate yourself and read more about the nasty POPs below!
What are POPs?
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are hazardous chemical pollutants originating from pesticides, industrial chemicals, and byproducts of chemical processes. They accumulate in body tissues of living organisms and are subject to long-range transport. POPs have adverse effects on humans and/or ecosystems. Under the 2001 Stockholm Convention on POPs, signed by more than 100 countries, an intital group of 12 POPs were identified after which many others were considered for a total of 23 POPs. Common examples of POPs include PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), dioxin, and DDT.
For example in China, DDT is added to marine anti-foul paint, to form a toxic layer over the painted area which can kill marine fouling organisms and thus achieve the desired effect. However, during usage these anti-fouls contaminate the water indiscriminately, damaging marine biodiversity, harming the marine food chain and threatening the marine ecological balance and human health. Annually, China consumes about 65,000 metric tons (MTs) of antifouling paint. China has 300,000 fishing vessels spread along its 18,000 kilometre coastline, which consume 10,000 MT of antifouling paint. Approximately half of this (i.e. 5,000 MT) is DDT based.
Why are POPs harmful?
Because POPs can travel long distances via air currents, its effects go beyond its origin and source. Furthermore, POPs can accumulate within organisms and food sources, including milk and cheese, and be passed from one organism to another; POPs can also cross the placenta and affect developing fetuses. Research has shown significant correlations between exposure to such toxic compounds and developmental dysfunctions in fetus and infants, learning and behavioral disorders, reproductive deficits, immune system dysfunctions and other diseases. POPs inevitably threaten human health and ecosystems.
Through advocacy and government initiatives, in 2009 China banned the production, use, and trade of several POPs products, including DDT, mirex, and chlordane. National and global efforts to find products that replace POPs is ongoing with much more work to be done.
Work with Us
- Educate yourself and others on POPs and issues relating to the spread of POPs in your country by reading more on POPs official website and POPs Dirty Dozen
- Let’s talk! Follow us on Weibo (@undpchina) and WeChat (ID: undpchina) to receive up-to-date information regarding our upcoming campaign, share your own fight against POPs stories and tips, and help us start an international conversation on these pollutants.
- To learn more about specific projects in China visit Alternatives to DDT and Improvement of DDT
- Read our success stories: Chinese Farmers Plant a Seed for a Chemical Free Future.