UN: Obsolete pesticides pose environmental threat
Regional, Environment, 5/25/1999
Unused obsolete pesticides pose an environmental threat to countries in the Near East and Africa, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said yesterday.
"Various accidents related to pesticides are quite common and widespread. Often, drums are stored in the open, next to food stores or markets, and easily accessible to children. Deadly chemicals are contaminating the soils, ground water, irrigation and drinking water. These 'forgotten' stocks are a serious risk, they could cause an environmental tragedy in rural areas and big cities. There is hardly any developing country that is not affected by the hazards of obsolete pesticides," FAO expert Alemayehu Wodageneh said.
"If the removal continues at the same speed as in the past, we shall need more than 30 years to finish the clean-up of obsolete stocks in Africa and the Near East. This would only include the removal of metal drums and other containers, but not the more difficult disposal of contaminated soil," the FAO said.
The FAO said the agro-chemical industry's contributions to the clean up of the chemicals, many of which were banned in the time after their production, have been "very limited," noting that Shell International contributed $300,000 to the disposal of Deildrin in Mauritania.
"The chemical industry is far from fulfilling its commitments to pay one United States dollar per liter/kg for the removal of obsolete pesticide stocks in Africa and the Near East," Wodageneh stated.
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