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close this bookObsolete Pesticides - A Dangerous Legacy - Results of a Pilot Project on the Disposal of Obsolete Pesticides (GTZ, 1999, 52 p.)
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In many countries of Asia and Africa, Latin America and even Europe, rotten drums of old pesticides can be found lying around in totally inadequate storage facilities. Once supplied in large quantities, they somehow never got used and eventually slipped into oblivion. No one knows their exact quantities, and some of the storage sites would be difficult to locate. There can be no doubt, though, that some of the agents and preparations found stored under precarious conditions are extremely toxic and therefore pose a major hazard for people and the environment. Some such sites are situated right in the middle of densely populated cities. In many places, the contents of thoroughly corroded drums have already leaked into the ground and, in some cases, penetrated the groundwater table.

Numerous inquiries from emerging nations document the scale of the problem. Quick to recognize the volatility of the situation, BMZ commissioned GTZ in 1991 to conduct a pilot project on the disposal of obsolete pesticides. Since then, the disposal of overaged pesticides has evolved into an independent, very extensive range of activity within the field of technical cooperation.

From a development-policy standpoint, the main idea from the very start was to learn from past mistakes for future reference. Global attribution of responsibility (= finger-pointing) would be both out-of-place and counterproductive. Conversely, all concerned have had to accept their respective measures of co-responsibility and that has served as a point of departure both for elaborating problem-solving strategies and for working together to avoid new hazardous waste problems. Worthy of particular emphasis in that connection is the close, fruitful cooperation between BMZ/GTZ, the FAO and the plant protectant producing industry. The same applies to the energetic commitment of our partners in emerging nations.

Between 1991 and 1999, GTZ s Pesticide Disposal Project implemented 25 individual measures, gradually developing a general strategy for future tasks. This booklet outlines the broad spectrum of those project activities, analyzes their respective backgrounds and problem causalities, reviews the various approaches for solving such problems, and probes some future perspectives. The main focus is clearly centered on the practical experience gained from the work. Examples of particularly successful country measures are presented: Zambia, for example, has become the first country in Africa to rid itself of obsolete pesticides. The benefits for others are highlighted by way of cases in which GTZ has pioneered various technical and/or organizational aspects including some very remarkable new forms of cooperation in which pesticide producers become financially involved in the projects. The maturity of the described options makes them suitable for recommendation as models for other actors, too.

Bonn, December 1999

Dr. H.-J. de Haas
German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Dr. C. Henckes
OE 4541
Deutsche Gesellschaft fhnische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH