Arctic Ministers welcomed ACAP’s work “to reduce releases of PCBs, obsolete pesticides, dioxins and furans, mercury and brominated flame retardants to further support implementation of the Stockholm Convention, the POPs and Heavy Metals Protocols of the UN/ECE Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution, and other hazardous chemicals initiatives”, while approving ACAP as a working group in the Salekhard Declaration (2006).
Both POPs and mercury contamination can be transported long distances, with impacts far beyond the immediate area where it is released into the environment. This is especially visible in the relatively pristine Arctic region, which, in general, contains few sources of POPs and anthropogenic sources of mercury but nonetheless, due to long range transport of emissions from outside the Arctic, experiences high POPs and mercury levels in the environment. This makes Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and mercury priority pollutants in the Arctic region.
The ACAP WG efforts on POPs and mercury support implementation of relevant international legally-binding instruments such as Stockholm Convention on POPs (2001) and Minamata Convention on Mercury (2013).
In its Strategy to Address Contamination of the Arctic Environment and its People for 2016-2020, ACAP identifies “hazardous substances such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), mercury, obsolete pesticides and others regulated by international conventions” as its priority number one.
The ACAP Expert Group on POPs and Mercury coordinates and facilitates Arctic Council demonstration projects that reduce the release of POPS and mercury into the environment, communicate results, and coordinate synergies between projects.