GOVERNMENTS TO FINALISE BAN ON WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS CHEMICALS
Polluted communities press for environmental justice
5 December 2000 - Auckland/Johannesburg: Greenpeace volunteers highlighted the human cost of polluting industries to over 100 governments as they arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa today for the final negotiations on an international treaty to ban some of the world’s most toxic chemicals.11 The chemicals targeted by the toxics treaty are: dioxins, furans, PCBs, hexachlorobenzene, mirex, heptachlor, DDT, dieldrin, chlordane, toxaphene, aldrin and endrin.
Greenpeace volunteers dressed in chemical protection suits, shamed the handful of governments led by the US, that are trying to undermine the treaty. The volunteers held images of people around the world whose health and environment is affected by persistent organic pollutants (POPs), routinely released into the environment by industries.
“Most of these chemicals didn’t exist fifty years ago. Now they’re building up in the bodies of every living being on earth. They’re contaminating the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink,” said Greenpeace campaigner, Sue Connor from the negotiations in Johannesburg today. “This week, governments are deciding on the fundamental human rights of people to live in a world free of toxic chemical pollution. If governments don’t take this historic opportunity to eliminate all sources of these dangerous poisons, it’ll be a gross dereliction of duty,” she added.
“The New Zealand government has just signed off its’ position on this important treaty, and claims to be taking a “hard line” on these deadly pollutants”, says Connor.
The minister for the environment, Marian Hobbs, announced that New Zealand supports “the desirability of a long term goal to eliminate dioxins”.
Dioxins are some of the most dangerous chemicals known to human kind. They cause cancer, birth defects and infertility.
“Greenpeace will be monitoring the New Zealand position as it emerges during the coming week to see whether the government indeed takes this “hard line” and agrees unconditionally to the ultimate aim to eliminate dioxins”, says Connor. “Greenpeace still has not seen the full New Zealand position, so cannot assess whether the government will in fact join the vast majority of nations in the aim to eliminate dioxins or whether it will try to weaken this global aim”.
For further information contact:
Sue Connor in Johannesburg +61 401 770 396
Matilda Bradshaw in Johannesburg +31 6 535 04701
Logan Petley in New Zealand 025 828028