The Stockholm Convention is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). These chemicals persist in the environment, can bioaccumulate and biomagnify in food chain organisms including humans and are toxic. They also have the potential to be transported long distances and are deposited far from their place of manufacture/release. The Convention requires that Parties adopt and introduce measures to reduce releases of POPs into the environment with the aim of minimising human and wildlife exposure.
There are currently 26 POPs listed in the Convention. These fall into three broad categories: pesticides (such as aldrin, chlordecone and lindane), industrial chemicals (e.g. polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and certain homologue groups of poly-brominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)) and unintentional by-products (such as dioxins and furans) of combustion and some industrial and non-industrial processes. Many of the pesticides and industrial chemicals listed in the Convention have already been banned in the United Kingdom (UK) for many years. However, continued use is permitted for certain applications based on limited exemptions, which are detailed in Annexes A and B of the Convention.
As a Party to the Stockholm Convention, the UK developed a National Implementation Plan (NIP) in 2007 and an update was published in 2013. This has now been revised to describe how the Convention is being implemented in the UK and to outline next steps for the management of POPs, particularly those which have been more recently listed.