NSP - Containers


Wherever pesticides are used, empty containers are generated.

Obviously, no country can eliminate the problem of used pesticide containers in a single, or even a series, of disposal operations. It's an ongoing problem; one that poses a serious threat to the environment and public health.

In many developing countries, empty pesticide containers are highly valued property. Even though it is usually impossible to remove all traces of toxic chemicals from pesticide containers, people often use them for storing fuel or even food and water.

This is clearly an unsafe practice that must be discouraged.

Dangers of improper disposal

When measures are taken to dispose of containers, often they are not appropriate. For example, many pesticide suppliers and national authorities recommend the burying or burning of waste pesticides and empty containers. But buried chemical waste can contaminate soil and groundwater, while burning pesticides and containers releases highly toxic fumes. 

Often pesticides, empty containers and contaminated materials are dumped in landfills or other general waste collection sites. Most of these sites aren't designed to prevent toxic materials from leaking into the ground or being washed out by rain into water bodies. In developing countries such sites are also usually scavenged and useful items such as pesticide containers are reclaimed.

A responsibility of industry and the government

Most pesticide users can't dispose of pesticides and related waste materials safely. And indeed, they shouldn't be expected to.

Under the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides, manufacturers and distributors of pesticides are expected to provide facilities that allow pesticide users to dispose of empty containers and pesticide-related waste materials safely. National and local authorities must also help with the disposal of farmers' and householders' pesticide-related waste. They can do this by establishing schemes for collecting small quantities of pesticides, used containers and contaminated materials.

The FAO Programme provides technical advice and guidance to assist developing countries take the necessary to reduce the risks posed by used pesticide containers.

Corroded obsolete pesticides drum
Corroded obsolete pesticides drum