20 Jul 2010

Steps towards minimising the risk from dangerous chemicals in the Cook Islands

3:25 pm on 20 July 2010

The Cook Islands Environment Service is holding discussions with local companies and organisations to try and minimise the country's exposure to persistent organic pollutants, or POPs.

It's the first step in the development of a National Implementation Plan on the reduction of POPs.

The project coordinator, Maureen Hilyard, says 21 dangerous chemicals have been identified as POPs, including DDT and Lindane which were once widely used as pesticides in the Cook Islands.

"To identify these chemicals on the island, and where they are, how they're being used, how they're being managed, stored and eventually, how they're being disposed of. I mean, the whole point of the implementation plan will be to look at ways in which we can minimise any sort of risk to do with POPs that might be here."

Maureen Hilyard says POPs can stay in the soil for a long time, and are easily transported by water and air.

She says they'll focus on how the chemicals are disposed of, and who pays for that disposal.