Alternatives to POPs

When cleaner production(CP) implementation strategies are developed, investment for the identified CP opportunites are subdivided into three priorities:

  • good house keeping options where no investment is required for implementation,
  • short term investment options with payback period between 6 months and one year, and
  • long term investment options that require terchnology transfer for compliance.

Input material changes and material alternatives are very seldom considered as a CP option if there are no grurantees that the consumer, without market resistance, would accept the final product. Article 11 of the Stockholm Convention encourages research for alternatives to POPs chemicals and set a time limit for compliance due to the proven severe adverse effect on human health and the environment. Although there are some constraints to adoption of alternative materials and technologies, alternatives constitute an opportunity to CP actions and resource mobilization for science based POPs elimination driving force.

Naturally occurring pesticides are often extracted and used in many parts of the world, particularly insecticides. Pyrethrins for example were first known to the Chinese in the first century A.D. as a naturally occurring insecticide; however commercial production did not begin until 1850 and the first evidence of their structure was obtained in 1920 by Ruzicka and Staudinger. Today nearly half ot the world production of pyrethrins comes from Kenya.

Global initiatives such as the Millennium Development Compact and Goals could stimulate new industrial revolution that may need to take up new principles of environmental dimensions such as cradle-to-cradle, natural capitalism, circular material flows, extended producer responsibility policies and take-back consumer policies. Biotechnology can also provide future contribution to alternative POPs intermediate substances and can generate POPs free materials and end products as well.