Athens, 16th June 2010 - Mediterranean countries adopted new concrete measures and mandatory timelines to limit the impact of dangerous chemicals and pesticides originating from industrial and agricultural activities on the marine environment in the region.
Mandatory measures to phase out hazardous chemicals entered into force, Wednesday, under the Barcelona Convention and the Mediterranean Action Plan. Targeted chemicals include those found in waste water, a series of persistent organic pollutants used as pesticides (Aldrin, Chlordane, Dieldrin, Endrin, Heptachlor, Mirex, Toxaphene), as well as DDT and its stockpiles.
Today marks the beginning of a new phase in the implementation of the Barcelona Convention, where our verbal commitments are framed by concrete deadlines for action", said Maria Luisa Silva, UNEP/MAP Officer-in-charge. "This is a brand new approach to tackling polluting chemicals, as the mandatory deadlines and concrete measures will indeed accelerate the pace of effective pollution reduction in the Mediterranean".
The implementation of the chemicals phase-out in the 21 countries bordering the Mediterranean basin and the European Union member states is expected to take place between 2015 and 2019. This will include mandatory measures for the treatment of waste water in coastal cities and urban centers before its release into the sea. Urban waste water is the most serious source of pollution in the Mediterranean.
Francesco Saverio Civili, MEDPOL Coordinator, said, "We enter this new phase with renewed enthusiasm. Additional measures can now be negotiated and implemented, and we will continue to support the countries in the implementation and further development of their regional plans".
The plans were adopted at the 16th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (Marrakesh, November 2009) and are a powerful implementation tool of Article 15 of the Land Based Sources (LBS) Protocol of the Convention, which states that countries should adopt plans and programmes containing concrete measures and timetables.
Notes for Editors:
(1) The Mediterranean Action Plan of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP/MAP) is the regional institution that supports and coordinates the implementation of the Barcelona Convention and Protocols, which were adopted in 1976 by the 21 countries bordering the Mediterranean basin and the European Union for the purposes of protecting the marine and coastal environments of the region.
(2) The chemicals targeted by the three regional plans include those found in waste waters (BOD5); a series of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) used as pesticides (Aldrin, Chlordane, Dieldrin, Endrin, Heptachlor, Mirex, Toxaphene); and DDT and its stockpiles