|Initial Environmental Assessment: Plant Protection - Series no 13 (NORAD, 1995)|
|Part I: General account|
|2 The environment affected by the project|
Employment conditions: Agriculture dependent on pesticides are generally less labour-demanding than agriculture which do not make use of such agents. Consequently, information about the extent to which the employment situation depends on the use of pesticides in agriculture is required. Will women be especially affected by a prospective change?
In many developing countries, the institutional conditions connected to plant protection and the use of pesticides are insufficient. Often, the country lacks an agency which can examine the use and character of the pesticide in relation to local environmental conditions, as well as institutions to give official approval to pesticides based on such examinations. Such institutions are also needed to adjust the directions for use to local conditions. If such institutions are lacking, one has to rely on information from other countries. When that is the case, the information should preferably come from countries with similar climactic conditions. Sufficient knowledge about chemical pesticides is often lacking. In particular, some users have very little information about possible environmental impacts and health risks related to the use of pesticides. Users may in some cases be unable to understand the directions because of illiteracy. This can be a serious obstacle to the effective and secure handling of chemical pesticides.
Lack of waste management systems after spraying, can be a problem in many places. Pesticide waste is classified as hazardous waste, and requires special handling (see booklet No.11 "Waste management").
The local pollution situation: It is generally assumed that natural environmental conditions have certain tolerance limits. Certain amounts of pollution can be absorbed in nature without causing significant changes in the ecosystem in the area. However, if the tolerance limit is exceeded, the ecosystem may change so that some species will decline while others will increase. If one is to estimate the project's prospective risk of exceeding the tolerance limit, information about the prospective dosages of pesticide is required, as well as about the extent of annual pollution from other sources in the area, and the extent of already existing pollution. In addition, one must decide the acceptable upper limit of pesticide in the drinking water to avoid it becoming a health hazard for humans and animals.