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Experts point out daily-life toxins

Dec. 19: Experts have spoken out of the need to manage or minimise the production of persistent organic pollutants like dioxins and furans because these highly toxic pollutants could cause health complications like cancer and endocrine disruption.

They were speaking at the Regional Stakeholders Meeting on Dioxins and Furans — The Unintentional POPs — in the city today.

The meeting was organised by city-based NGO ENVIRON, in association with New Delhi-based organisation, Toxics Link.

The meeting’s objective was finding opportunities for collective effort in identifying lasting solutions for management of unintentional pollutants, which are produced through common processes, at the regional level.

Scientists, academicians, members of the pollution control boards of different northeastern states, civil society organisations and students from Gauhati University and IIT Guwahati attended the meeting.

The chief scientist and co-ordinator of Stockholm Convention Regional Centre on POPs for Asia Region at Nagpur’s National Environmental Engineering Research Institute — Asha Juwarkar — said: “Awareness levels about toxic POPs like dioxins and furans have to increase among people so that they know how these pollutants are produced and the detrimental effects they have on the environment. The problems and challenges of technology transfer towards mitigating release of dioxins and furans into the atmosphere also have to be dealt with effectively. India has initiated the National Implementation Plan (NIP) in 2011 as part of its commitment towards global treaties. This initiative stresses on building awareness among different stakeholders, civil society organisations and citizens groups for better understanding on the issue.”

“The meeting was held to create awareness among the relevant stakeholders and promote effective monitoring and management system of dioxins and furans, a group of one of the deadliest persistent organic compounds. We also aim to develop a strategy and road map for future course of action to control the production of these toxic compounds in the Northeast,” said Amarjyoti Kashyap, president of ENVIRON.

“We need trained manpower and resources to test the level of toxic carcinogenic compounds like dioxins and furans in the atmosphere. These toxins are produced during everyday processes. In fact, traditional agricultural practices like the jhum cultivation leads to release of these toxins. People should also refrain from burning plastics and paper because that releases these toxins in the atmosphere too,” said Mihir Deb, chairman of Tripura Pollution Control Board. “POPs like dioxins and furans when released into the atmosphere have severe repercussions on the environment as well as on the health and well-being of people. The government should formulate definite policies to tackle and minimise the emission of such substances,” said Kashyap.


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