Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) & the Stockholm Convention

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are chemical substances that persist in the environment, bioaccumulate through the food web and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment. POPs can be transported across international boundaries far from their sources, even to regions where they have never been either used or produced.

The Stockholm Convention on POPs is a global treaty that aims to protect human health and the environment from POPs. The Convention includes several requirements in the control of POPs including banning or restricting the production, use, import and export of POPs and measures to reduce and or eliminate their releases. The Convention also contains obligations regarding wastes containing POPs including a requirement to destroy or irreversibly transform the POP content of wastes. There are currently 22 POPs that are controlled under the Convention and these fall into three broad categories:

  • Certain pesticide related substances
  • Certain industrial chemicals  (e.g.: Polychlorinated biphenyls– (PCBs)
  • Certain unintentionally produced substances (e.g.: dioxins)

The Stockholm Convention entered into force for Ireland in 2010 and in accordance with Article 7 of the Convention, Ireland is required to develop a National Implementation Plan on POPs for the implementation of its obligations under the Convention.  The Environmental Protection Agency, as competent authority, has prepared the National Implementation Plan in consultation with a number of public authorities, national stakeholders and the public.

The National Implementation Plan on POPs includes an assessment of POPs in Ireland and details the measures put in place to protect human health and the environment from the POPs that are listed under the Convention.  The Plan also outlines further activities which will be carried out to support the control of POPs. 

Strategic Environmental Assessment and the National Implementation Plan on POPs

The EPA has carried out pre-screening of the National Implementation Plan on POPs in order to determine if strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of the plan is required in accordance with relevant SEA legislation. As the National Implementation Plan is not being prepared for specified sectors and, does not provide the framework for development projects that require Environmental Impact Assessment, a SEA of the plan is not required.  

Further information on POPs

 Relevant Organisations and Public Authorities Concerned 

Other links