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Ten years after entry into force of the Stockholm Convention: What do air monitoring data tell about its effectiveness?
Institute for Chemical and Bioengineering, ETH Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland.
Institute for Chemical and Bioengineering, ETH Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland; Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment (RECETOX), Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.
Institute for Chemical and Bioengineering, ETH Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland; nstitute for Sustainability Sciences ISS, Agroscope, Zürich, Switzerland.
Air Quality Processes Research Section, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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2016 (English)In: Environmental Pollution, ISSN 0269-7491, E-ISSN 1873-6424, Vol. 217, 149-158 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

More than a decade ago, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), one of the multilateral environmental agreements administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), entered into force. The objective of this Convention is to protect human health and the environment by controlling the releases of POPs. According to its Article 16, the effectiveness of the Stockholm Convention shall be evaluated using comparable monitoring data on the presence of POPs as well as their regional and global environmental transport. Here, we present a time series analysis on atmospheric POP concentrations from 15 monitoring stations in North America and Europe that provide long-term data and have started operations between 1990 and 2003. We systematically searched for temporal trends and significant structural changes in temporal trends that might result from the provisions of the Stockholm Convention. We find that such structural changes do occur, but they are related mostly to effects of national regulations enforced prior to the implementation of the Stockholm Convention, rather than to the enforcement of the provisions laid out in the Convention. One example is that concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls, many of which started to decrease rapidly during the 1990s. Also effects of chemical transport and fate, for instance the re-volatilization of POPs from secondary sources, are thought to be a cause of some of the observed structural changes. We conclude that a decade of air monitoring data has not been sufficient for detecting general and statistically significant effects of the Stockholm Convention. Based on these lessons, we present recommendations for the future operation of existing monitoring programs and advocate for a stricter enforcement of the provisions of the Stockholm Convention, in the current absence of proof for its effectiveness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016. Vol. 217, 149-158 p.
Keyword [en]
Stockholm Convention, effectiveness evaluation, air monitoring, time series analysis
National Category
Climate Research Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Enviromental Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-49569DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2016.01.090ISI: 000383825100019PubMedID: 27015905Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84962525123OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-49569DiVA: diva2:918926
Note

Funding Agencies:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes National Program Office GL 00E01422

Environment and Climate Change Canada's Chemicals Management Plan (CMP)

UNEP Chemicals Branch

Government of Norway 52-P5

Global Environment Facility (GEF) 4B97

AMAP

EMEP

Norwegian Environmental Directorate 15078042

Available from: 2016-04-12 Created: 2016-03-29 Last updated: 2016-10-18Bibliographically approved

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