Serious consequences for poor countries could flow from attempts by environmental groups to ban DDT, argue Richard Tren and Roger Bate in a new study published by the IEA on Tuesday 22nd May. 'Malaria is a human tragedy,' observes Dr Bate. 'The disease kills up to 3 million people every year, and makes up to 500 million people sick. As DDT is one of the cheapest and most effective options available to poor countries, they should not be discouraged from using DDT spray programmes aimed at preventing malaria.'
Yet this week, delegates from around the world will meet in Stockholm to sign onto the Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), a legally binding, international treaty that will ban or greatly restrict worldwide the use of 12 chemicals. A network of international environmental lobbying groups worked with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to design the treaty, seeking a ban on chemicals such as DDT.
'Luckily, international environmental lobbying groups were unsuccessful in their attempt to ban DDT completely. Its exemption from the POPs treaty comes to the great relief of public health doctors in poor countries and humanitarians everywhere,' says Dr Bate.
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