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Project launch: Study of persistent organic pollutants in the Alps

Fichtennadeln

Fichtennadeln: Indikatoren für die Belastung mit POPs © Ges. f. ökolog. Forschung München

Very little is known to date about the actual extent of the threat to the Alps caused by persistent highly toxic environmental pollutants, also known as POP chemicals. However initial studies suggest that they do represent a burden on the Alps, especially since POPs tend to deposit in cold areas such as mountain regions.
Austria has therefore launched a wide-scale study project entitled MONARPOP (for MOnitoring Network in the Alpine Region for Persistent Organic Pollutants). Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Slovenia as well as the EU (via Interreg IIIB) have joined the project as co-operation partners and financial backers. Measurements are to begin in autumn 2004, with initial results expected in autumn 2005.
POPs circulate globally and can have a series of toxic effects already in very low concentrations, which is why local initiatives are not enough. This is where UNEP's Stockholm Convention on the global restriction of persistent organic pollutants, which entered into force on 17 May 2004, comes into play.
Source and information: Austrian Federal Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry 30.04.2004 www.lebensministerium.at/presse (de), www.pops.int (en/fr)