Reducing the Risks from Obsolete Pesticides
The obsolete and hazardous pesticides accumulated in former pesticide storehouses are causing an immediate threat to human health and the environment. These substances can be released into the environment: air, water and plants, and by penetrating the human body can cause respiratory diseases and neurological disorders, kidney disease, and also can promote the development of malignant tumors.
Awareness raising in rural communities about this issue, the strengthening of capacity of rural communities, as well as the reduction of health hazards associated with exposure to toxic chemicals is the main goal of the “Increased public health and environmental protection of farmers with plots near POPs hotspots” project which is now being implemented by the “Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment” NGO, supported by the Yerevan office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The program is being carried out in the villages of Odzoun and Garghar of Lori province, the village of Partizak of Shirak province, the village of Achajur of Tavush province and the village of Vardenik of Gegharkunik province, where, like in other communities, stocks of obsolete pesticides are stored in the pesticide warehouses, which were inherited from the former Soviet times, and there is no specific information about their impact on health of the people living in the vicinity of them and also on the crops grown on the nearby land areas.
During their visits to these communities, the NGO members explored and specified the location of the former warehouses and their general condition; samples of soil and obsolete pesticides were taken from inside the warehouses. Soil sampling was also conducted in the surrounding areas of the warehouses and in agricultural lands located near these stores. Sampling of agricultural products grown in these plots of lands was also conducted. The results of laboratory analysis of these samples will show whether these stocks represent any danger to human health and the environment.
The organization conducted a survey among the target population in order to assess the awareness of people about the availability of former pesticide storages, and about the pesticide stores currently operating in their communities, as well as to increase the awareness of people on safe use of pesticides.
In all these communities the organization had meetings with the mayors and farmers, during which they discussed a range of issues related to pesticide selection, purchase, use, storage and observance of safety rules.
The organization also provided advice on measures to prevent the occurrence of pesticide accumulation. During the meetings the farmers were provided with the informational materials created by the organization: a variety of leaflets, brochures and posters.
“Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment” NGO