UN agency to help 12 Eastern European countries get rid of obsolete pesticides

13 April 2012

The United Nation Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will support efforts by 12 countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia to manage their vast stocks of obsolete pesticides.

An estimated 200,000 tons of obsolete pesticides – nearly half the world’s stockpiles – can be found in 12 former Soviet Union republics, according to FAO, which has formed a partnership with the European Union (EU) to invest €7 million to assist Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan to manage the chemicals.

Stored in tens of thousands of unprotected sites, the obsolete pesticides pose a serious threat to the health of the people around them and to the environment, FAO said in a press release yesterday.

“In the past decades, we were able to increase food production significantly, but at a huge toll on the environment,” said Director-General of FAO, José Graziano da Silva. “One of the consequences of this chemical-input, intensive agriculture we adopted are the barrels of obsolete pesticides lying abandoned around the world.”

“Pesticides may be an important input for farming, but they need to be used responsibly while protecting human health and the environment from their adverse effects,” he added.

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