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Chemicals rap is top of the POPs!

A crowd of students shuffled into a presentation room, for what was surely about to be yet another recital about science. Lost track of how many PowerPoints they had seen over the years and already looking at the clock, they must have been shocked by its start.


“Persistent Organic Pollutants, AKA POPs. Hazardous pollution like PCB and DTT” a rap began by Karen Quinto, a scientist/musician/artist from Canada, capturing everyone’s attention.

Ms Quinto previously wrote the song for Environment Canada's ‘Take Our Kids to Work Day,’ the country’s annual initiative to bring high school students to their parent or guardian's workplace.

“I think rap also has a way of communicating quite plainly and honestly about any topic,” Ms Quinto said in an interview with Charlie Avis, Public Information Officer for the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions.

Her composition addresses the importance of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, a UN global treaty, based in Geneva, to protect human health and the environment from chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods.

Quinto’s dynamic rhythm and flow combines art and science, captivating audiences who might otherwise not be aware of environmental issues. Simple lyrics, such as, “we didn’t know they would persist, never breaking down. In the water, in the air, everywhere in the world now,” make the complex issue clear and understandable.

The skill in Quinto’s rap is her ability to appeal to all age groups, making it unique and powerful. In the interview, Avis stated the UN’s admiration for the song, “I and many of my colleagues enjoyed your rap about persistent organic pollutants, or POPs. Congratulations!”

The rap, ‘Persistent Organic Pollutants - Kizzle the Science’, is available on SoundCloud and the full interview can be found on the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Convention’s website.

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