This site is a platform of resource documents, information and discussion for everyone working with obsolete pesticides in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Obsoletepesticides.net publishes information contributed by different organisations working in ongoing projects (see “Projects” for more information).
Should you have any comments, questions or information, please do not hesitate to contact:
- Sandra Molenkamp: s.molenkamp @ milieukontakt.nl (English, Russian)
- Stephan Robinson: stephan.robinson @ greencross.ch (English, Russian)
About obsolete pesticides
For decades, pesticides have been used worldwide as a mean to increase agricultural output, fight pests and control tropical diseases. Thousands of active chemical ingredients have been in use to that aim, some of them proving to be highly efficient and therefore popular like DDT or endosulfan. However, with increasing and prolonged use, also negative impacts became noticeable such as an increase of disease rates, infertility and sometimes death, or environmental impacts including contamination of local water supplies, global transport and bio-accumulation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), or loss of income to farmers whose products contains unacceptable concentrations of pesticide residues to be fit for sale. An additional problem is the build-up of large stocks of obsolete pesticides (OPs) over time, stemming from overuse and mismanagement of pesticides or because stocks became unusable due to long-term storage leading to degradation. Today, there is an estimated global challenge of 5-10 million tons of obsolete pesticides and related production wastes which needs to be addressed to reduce risks to public health or the environment.
Obsolete pesticides (OPs) pose a significant environmental and health concern in the region, stemming from overuse and mismanagement of pesticides during the Soviet era. It is estimated that around half of the world’s quantities of obsolete pesticides can be found in the former Soviet Union. In addition, some industrial sites in the region rank among the world’s most polluted places, exposing the populations to pollution from hazardous chemicals and heavy metals.
Obsolete pesticides are scattered today across the territory of the former Soviet Union in dilapidated storage facilities and often out in the open. Many warehouses with obsolete pesticides belonged to collective farms that were dismantled after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is not uncommon for local residents to use the dismantled warehouses as building materials for their own sheds, houses and fences. It is clear that obsolete pesticides lying out in the open or in ruined stores can easily pollute the environment and are a risk to human health. Chemicals leak into the soil and pollute agricultural lands and ground water.
For more information on obsolete pesticides and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) see the chapter “About PoPs“. If you are interested to know what is being done to eradicate the problem of obsolete pesticides, have a look at “Projects”.