Reduction and Elimination of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in China
Alternatives to DDT Usage in the Production of Antifouling Paint

The Challenge

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) can circulate globally and negatively impact the environment they are found in. 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.

The Response

The project aims to eliminate the use of 250 MT/year of DDT as an additive to anti-foul paint by converting to non-toxic and environmentally-friendly alternatives. It is establishing a long-term mechanism to protect the marine environment and human health from the polluting effects of harmful anti-foul substances based on the technologies and experience being obtained from the phase-out of DDT based antifouling paint. Relevant regulations and standards will be established or revised, and supported by capacity building, to create an enabling policy environment for the phase-out and to promote sustainable alternatives. The project’s success will help China meet the terms of the International Maritime Organisations Convention and eliminate DDT-based anti-foul.


Since its inception, the project has devised and introduced an international environmental risk management system for marine paints, specifically adapted to China’s individual situation and requirements.

It has created an enabling policy environment for the phase-out of DDT-based anti-foul paint. It has helped to revise outdated regulations and in several cases has been involved in drafting and establishing new legislation where required.

It established a voluntary certification and labelling programme for marine paints, allowing manufacturers to demonstrate their compliance with the more stringent standards and encouraging the rest of the market to get up to standard.

The project has improved knowledge of POP-free alternatives through public awareness and advocacy. Efforts are ongoing to improve local-level institutional capacity among Environmental Protection Agencies and other supervisory bodies. Environmentally-friendly painting processes have been established at two shipyard demo-sites.

Alternative products free of DDT and other POPs have been tested, and a thorough risk assessment of one substitute anti-foul paint will be finished before the project’s close.

Once selected the ecologically-kind alternative paint will be promoted in the market using a programme of incentives. It is anticipated that the alternative will take a market share of around 1,000 MT in the first year.

Who finances it?

GEF Funding US$ 10,705,000
US$ 3,750,000
Private Sector US$ 8,500,000

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