Persistent organic pollutants are organic materials that contaminate the environment, without biodegrading. Persistent organic pollutants are sometimes simply called POPs.
Persistent organic pollutants are types of pollution that are not biodegradable. That means that they do not break down in the environment. They ‘persist’.
Such pollutants are very difficult to get rid of. This is because they do not biodegrade (break down naturally in the environment).
An example of biodegradable waste is an apple core. When you throw out an apple core, it will simply rot away naturally and provide nutrients for the soil and it will not pose any hazard to life nearby.
Persistent organic pollutants, on the other hand, are chemical compounds that, when disposed of, remain in the ground for years or even centuries. Not only this, but a persistent organic pollutant will pose a hazard to animal, plant and even human life nearby.
Some examples of persistent organic pollutants include mirex, endrin and aldrin, which are all types of pesticide. There are twelve key types of pesticides that have been identified as POPs. Several industrial chemicals are also included in the list of POPs.
The main types of persistent organic pollutants are chemicals that are used in industry and agriculture. One example is the pesticide DDT which in the middle of the twentieth century was sprayed onto crops very widely.
Persistent organic pollutants are organic. This means that they consist of, or are derived from, living matter. It is a misconception that all organic matter is biodegradable.
Conclusion: POPs are highly dangerous for the environment, particularly because they do not degrade, and therefore their use in agriculture and industry should be reduced. It is very important that governments and private individuals take steps to eliminate the use of POPS.