Elimination of acute risks of obsolete pesticides in Moldova, Armenia and Georgia

See also: http://www.milieukontakt.nl/project_more.php?id=46

Geographic scope: Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia

Jan 1st, 2005 – Dec 31st, 2007

Funder: TMF programme (in Dutch Thematische Mede Financiering and in English Thematic Co-financing) of
the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Dutch Foundation Doen
PSO Capacity Building in Developing Countries

Partners: Tauw bv, international environmental consultancy firm (originally:
Technical Consultants (Adviesbureau in Dutch) of the Union of district Waterboards, founded in 1928)
IHPA, (International HCH & Pesticides Association)
SNM, the Netherlands Society for Nature and Environment

obsolete pesticides, public-private partnerships, awareness raising, human health, capacity
building, (inter)national network development

The project aims at storing and eliminating the pesticides in partner countries in the Dutch development aid programme. In each of the countries the programme will be adapted to the local situation.

The World Health Organisation estimated (WHO, 1986) that one million people are affected by insecticide poisoning every year and that 20.000 die as a result of being unaware of the risks involved in handling insecticides.

Initially arranged as a short-term, but then turned to be the long-term, storage of obsolete pesticides (OP) with deterioration of packaging, loss of labels and storage documentation, has resulted in spillages, and by re-packaging, mixing of the pesticides with possible chemical reactions of unknown results. The stockpiled chemicals may affect the environment in various ways, and cause contamination of soil and groundwater, surface water and air. Most pesticides are extremely stable substances. In many environmental studies the presence of DDT and HCH was used as a general indicator of pollution.

Forgotten agriculture pesticides in the open air
DDT, Aldrin, heptachlor, HCH were detected in soil 8-12 years after their application.

It is a general recommendation to locate stocks of obsolete pesticides in areas with large distance to the groundwater level. However, it was observed frequently in several countries, especially when the chemical waste was dumped just in pits or on soil surface, that the quantities were dumped without a liner and in areas with very shallow groundwater. But even if the stores originally were protected, the liners, floors and pavements in many cases were not maintained properly and thus lost their protective qualities. Inappropriate storage, handling and transportation of obsolete pesticides may result in spreading of pesticide dust over considerable areas. Obsolete pesticides pose there by not only a local but also a global environmental risk.

A destroyed shed

Common concern, common attack
To be effective and in order to reach sustainable solutions for the elimination of acute risks, it is essential that all stakeholders are involved in the process. Obsolete pesticides should be considered as a common threat and a common responsibility. Another important sustainability factor is raising awareness of the risks and the solutions of the problem of obsolete pesticides. Citizens may have them at home and do not know what to do with them. Others may be tempted to take from the storage facilities hazardous chemicals to use them in their own garden. Knowledge about the risks of pesticides will help to prevent these situations.
A process to involve stakeholders and citizens is in other words essential for the solution of this problem. This process offers also an excellent opportunity to develop a (network of) NGOs concerned with environmental issues on regional level, and develop the relations with the government and other parties.

Storage of DDT on Veselovskiy farm

In general the project aims at the following results :
. Local structure of stakeholders is established and running
. Risks are identified and inventarised
. Local Action Plans are developed
. Risks of dissemination of obsolete pesticides are eliminated in a specific country or region through proper storage
. Personnel is trained in stock taking, risk assessment and packaging of obsolete pesticides
. Internet forum and Network on Obsolete pesticides are established and running
. Project results are brought to the attention of international Fora, national governments and funders.

About IHPA

The International HCH & Pesticides Association (IHPA) is an independent and non-political network of committed individuals that wants to draw international attention on the world-wide problems stemming from the production and use of HCH and other obsolete pesticides and its dangers for human health and the environment.

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