On 10 September 2019, the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries finally published the regulations to phase-out the use, production, distribution, sale, import and export of persistent organic pollutants (POP Phase-Out Regulations). These regulations have been in draft form since 2017, and are a crucial requirement in terms of South Africa's commitments under the international Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants which was ratified on 4 September 2002.
The POP Phase-Out Regulations apply to certain listed chemical substances (which include formulations and products containing any of these chemicals and their wastes) which largely need to be completely phased-out by 31 December 2020, barring limited exceptions by 31 December 2021.
- users, producers, distributors, sellers, importers and exporters of listed POPs must notify the Director-General of the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries within 30 days of the POP Phase-Out Regulations coming into force, i.e. by 10 October 2019;
- producers, importers and exporters of listed POPs must develop a phase-out plan for certain listed substance(s), and submit same to the Director-General for approval within 12 months, i.e. by 10 September 2020; and
- annual reporting against approved phase-out plans will be required.
Penalties and fines for non-compliance apply.