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Global Action Against Sources of POPs Poisons

Greenpeace Takes Global Action Against Sources of POPs Poisons and Urges Governments to do the Same

Auckland: 22 May 2001: Greenpeace activists started a series of direct actions today against industries around the world that are still releasing toxic poisons called persistent organic pollutants (POPs) into the environment.

The actions began as over 120 governments convened in Stockholm to formally adopt and sign the first legally binding, global treaty to eliminate POPs because of the unacceptable environmental damage they cause and the danger they pose to human health (1).

New Zealanders can send a message to nations which will be displayed at the Stockholm meeting by going to www.greenpeace.org.nz home page and signing on to the appeal to stop toxic pollution.

“It is important that the New Zealand Government signs this historic treaty to eliminate POPs, including dioxins (2). However, that commitment must be followed up with swift action to outlaw and eliminate dioxins here in New Zealand to protect the health of New Zealanders, our families and environment”, said Sue Connor, Greenpeace campaigner.

“Earlier this year a leaked government report revealed that more than 1 in 1000 New Zealanders may be dying from cancer because of dioxin contamination”, said Connor. “This is absolutely unacceptable. The only way to protect present and future generations from cancers, endometriosis, hormone disruption and birth defects caused by dioxins, is to outlaw dioxins”. (3)

"The POPs treaty presents an historic turning point as it requires governments to stop industries using the environment and human health as a testing ground for their devastating chemicals," said Kevin Stairs of Greenpeace International. "But it will take radical industrial change to protect us from these insidious chemicals that are poisoning our water, our food and our future. It has taken years to reach this agreement yet, every day these poisons are poured into our environment, the toll they take worsens. It’s time to see action, not words," he added.

New Zealand is expected to sign the POPs treaty in Stockholm, Sweden on Wednesday 23 May (Wednesday night New Zealand time) according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials.

For further information please contact Sue Connor on (09) 630 6317 during office hours or 025 272 4044

Notes to Editors:
(1) Watch the actions unfold as they happen on http://www.greenpeace.org/~toxics.globalaction.html
Page 1 of 2…
Direct actions by Greenpeace activists are underway in Lebanon, Turkey, Thailand and Sweden. In Sweden activists have been blocking the conveyor belt carrying waste into an incinerator for the past six days.

(2) Dioxins are the only one of the 12 POPs slated for elimination which are still legally pumped into our environment.

(3) The New Zealand government is scheduled to release a public discussion document on dioxins this year. People can join the Soil & Health, Pesticide Action Network and Greenpeace campaign to OUTLAW deadly dioxins by joining the Outlaw Dioxins Network online on: outlawdioxinsnz@egroups.com

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