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EU, FAO and Moldova team up to eliminate obsolete pesticides

Clean-up and disposal of over 400 tonnes of obsolete pesticides is now in full swing at the Pascani site here, under a project financed by the European Union and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The project – which covers Moldova and nine other countries – aims to reduce risks from obsolete pesticides across the region and promote sustainable agriculture.

During the Soviet era, pesticides were frequently over-used and often mismanaged in an attempt to increase food production. The remnants of this can be seen in many countries of the former Soviet Union. While pesticides continue to be used to support agricultural production today, obsolete and banned pesticides pose a significant threat to people’s health and the environment.

A demonstration and launch event for the Pascani operation took place on 26 May. The obsolete pesticides collected here will be safeguarded and sent for environmentally safe disposal in the United Kingdom, following international standards. The goal is to have all 413 tonnes of pesticide safely disposed of by the end of 2015.

These actions are part of an ongoing project worth EUR 7 million, financed mainly by the European Union and implemented by FAO, which is also providing funding. In addition to Moldova, countries benefitting from the project are:  Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

In each country, the work is carried out in close collaboration with national Ministries, government regulators, civil society organizations, international partners and technical experts. In addition to clean-up and disposal of dangerous pesticides, the project aims to promote safer agriculture in the participating countries.

In Moldova, the project has already provided training to staff of the Ministries of Agriculture and Food Industry, Environment, and Defense on developing an environmental health and safety management plan . It has assisted in updating an inventory of obsolete stocks at the Pascani site, and informed local people about safety measures being applied in the repackaging, transportation and disposal process.

A legal analysis of Moldova’s legislation and regulatory framework for pesticides helped identify gaps in existing legislation and recommended improvements consistent with safe and environmentally sound pesticide management.

A national awareness campaign on alternatives to pesticides was developed and a study on the health threats faced by rural families from pesticides came up with simple measures that could be taken to reduce risk.

FAO and the Ministries are also working with non-governmental organizations to increase knowledge of both decision makers and the local population of the potential harm obsolete pesticides can cause to health and the environment. 

25 June 2015, Criuleni, Moldova

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