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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

28 September 2005

Minister calls for comments on draft pollutants plan


The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, is inviting comments on Australia’s draft plan to help reduce the incidence of damaging and long-lasting pollutants in the environment.

“Developing this draft National Implementation Plan for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is an important step towards reducing some of the world’s most hazardous and environmentally enduring substances,” Senator Campbell said.

POP s are chemicals that stay in the environment for a long time, circulate around the planet and accumulate in the fatty tissue of living organisms. They are toxic to humans and wildlife.

“The 12 POP s identified by the Convention are aldrin, chlordane, DDT , dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, toxaphene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, furans and hexachlorobenzene (HCB).

Senator Campbell said that the draft implementation plan had been developed in consultation with state and territory governments and representatives of peak industry, environment and health groups.

“We are now seeking comments from the broader community before it is submitted to the United Nations Environment Program in 2006,” he said.

Senator Campbell said that preparing the draft was a key obligation under the Stockholm Convention – an international agreement which aims to protect human health and the environment from the effects of POP s and their by-products. It also aims to ensure the sound management of stockpiles and wastes that contain POP s.

The Convention came into force on 17 May 2004 with Australia becoming a Party to the Convention on 18 August last year.

“This plan will reflect the work being done and identify other actions that Australia will undertake in the future to meet our obligations under the Convention,” Senator Campbell said.

Comments on the plan should be provided to the Department of the Environment and Heritage by 9 November 2005. Copies are available from the department’s website at www.deh.gov.au/settlements/chemicals/international/stockholm.html or by phoning 1800 803 772.

More information about the Stockholm Convention is available at http://www.pops.int

Media Contacts:
Renae Stoikos (Minister Campbell) (02) 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

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