AGP - Inventory and environmental risk assessment
 

Inventory and environmental risk assessment

Before a detailed project proposal for prevention and disposal of obsolete pesticides can be presented to donor agencies, the exact extent of the problem must be determined.

An inventory of obsolete pesticide stocks must identify not only the different types and amounts of pesticide formulations, but also the quantity of contaminated containers and equipment, contaminated soil and other materials that may need to be dealt with in order to deal with the problem as comprehensively as possible. In many cases, pesticide containers will have lost their labels. A basic chemical analysis of the products will need to be carried out in order to determine at least which chemical family the chemical belongs to. This is necessary in order to jnow how to package and label the chemical so that it can be safely transported to its place of final disposal or treatment.

Because the member companies represented by CropLife International (CLI) have pledged to contribute to the costs of clean up operations involving their products, the inventory must also make sure to note how much of the stocks come from CLI member companies or their precedents (i.e. companies that have merged or whose products have been taken over by other companies).

The inventory must should also record the state of the containers and storage facilities for the pesticides. Are the pesticides safely contained? Where are they located? Near water and wells? Near villages? Near schools? If pesticides have leaked into the environment, the level of soil and water contamination also needs to be determined.

All of this information is needed to complete an environmental risk assessment for each site. These assessments allow authorities to set priorities for clean-up and disposal operations and to make an effective plan of action.

The ebvironmental assessment process has been developed by FAO within the framework of a toolkit that allows countries to:

  1. Priotize sites or regions for action on the basis of the risk they present to health and the environment;
  2. Identify safe storage sites for centralization of repackaged obsolete pesticides or future storage of pesticides;
  3. Plan the transportation of pesticides to minimize risk in the event of accident or spillage.

Taking an inventory of obsolete pesticide stocks and making environmental risk assessments are technically complex tasks. The people who are taking responsibility for cleaning up used pesticide stocks must be adequately trained, supervised and provided with the proper protective equipment as well as supplementary equipment such as digital cameras and GPS units.

The FAO Programme is committed to providing developing countries with the resources they need to assume complete responsibility for the taking the inventory of obsolete pesticide stocks. The Programme has published training manuals, guidelines and has developed the tools for taking stock of obsolete pesticide stockpiles and assessing soil and water contamination.

FAO has also developed an Internet database tool for inventory taking. The database's on-line forms ensure that for each site the information is complete and presented it in standardized electronic and print formats. Once the data has been entered, the database can automatically generate an environmental risk assessment for each site and establish priorities for action.

Obsolete pesticides in Syria
Obsolete pesticides in Syria
Ethiopia inventory taking - Tigray Regional
Ethiopia inventory taking - Tigray Regional