The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) today signed a US $ 14.5 million project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with the Government of India for the phase-out of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the country. PCBs are among the polluting chemicals listed under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and are found in electrical equipments, additives for paints and lubricants, plastics etc. The project was signed by the Director-General of UNIDO, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, in the presence of Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forest, Mr. Vijai Sharma, and GEF Operational Focal Point in India and Joint Secretary, Mr. Hem Pande. Mr. Rajiv Gauba, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forest, signed on behalf of Government of India.
The objective of the new project is to reduce or eliminate the use and release of PCBs into the environment through the disposal of PCB-containing equipments, and related waste in three pilot projects for the Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) of PCBS in India, catering to the needs of 12 states. The project aims at the development and implementation of an ESM system for PCBs and the development of an action plan for their timely phase-out from the use and final disposal of PCB-containing equipment and related wastes.
The project envisages co-financing of US $ 29 million and is to be implemented by Ministry of Environment and Forest in collaboration with UNIDO. The Central Power Research Institute (CPRI), which is the only specialized national institution on PCB management and research with the required infrastructure and trained manpower, has been involved in the preparation of the project.
The project is expected to lead to phasing out of outdated PCB-containing equipment in India. This in turn will contribute to India achieving its obligations under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.