Inventory training using FAO standards in Tomsk (Russia)

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Location of Tomsk oblast

The Tomsk Oblast lies in the southeastern West Siberian Plain. The city of Tomsk was founded in 1604. Most of the Oblast’s 316,900 km² territory is inaccessible because it is covered with taiga woods and swamps.

The Tomsk Oblast is rich in natural resources, particularly oil, natural gas, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, peat, forests and underground waters. Forests are among the most significant assets of the Tomsk region: about 20% of West Siberian forest resources are located there and are used for economical purposes since a long time.

In Soviet times, DDT was used in the Tomsk region for fighting the Siberian silkworm in forestry. With the end of the Soviet Union, management at many of the pesticide stores stopped. While many of the visible amounts of OP were brought to a central polygon over the last years, it is assumed that there are still larger amounts burried or not yet detected. Out of the 16 districts of the Tomsk Oblast, the most acute problems are in the Pervomaysky, Parabelsky, Teguldetsky, Kolpashevsky and Tomsky Rayons.

A training on the inventory of obsolete pesticides according to FAO standards was organised by Green Cross in Tomsk from 20-29 June 2012. The project aimed at introducing international best practices and safety standards when dealing with obsolete pesticides as promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organization if the United Nations (FAO).

Course trainers were Khatuna Akhalaia (Georgia) and Katea Melnicenco (Moldova). The ten participants came from the Tomsk department of agriculture, the Tomsk department of environment, the Tomsk department of socio-economic development, the emergency services, the management of the toxic wastes polygon, a waste management company, and a NGO. The training comprised training on the inventory process, health and safety during inventory, management of inventory data with PSMS, different approaches for stores and burial sites and on-the-job inventory training. The practical training was performed on sites of two former pesticide stores – Tegulted and TB former store. Samples taken from Tegulted and Beregaevo were analysed in labs in Tomsk and Novosibirsk for soil contamination by DDT and its products of decomposition.

The results from Teguldet, a village with 4’200 inhabitants, show that soil taken from garden plots is contaminated with levels 7-100 above permissible limits. Due to the proximity to the river Chulym there is a risk of migration of the contaminants into water bodies. The samples from Beregaevo have not yet been analysed.

Though most of the participants had already been working with OP in the past, they appreciated the training as it gave them new ideas for their daily work.

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