Pesticide Dumping in Eastern Europe

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                               RTK-NET Entry         Jan 25 12:30:14 1993

January 20, 1993

     Around 12,000 tons of unwanted pesticides, buried in various 
sites around Poland, are an "ecological bomb" waiting to explode, 
according to a report recently submitted to the Polish Ministry of 
Agriculture and Food by the Polish Plant Protection Institute. The 
problem is so dangerous that it requires "rapid and fundamental 
actions" and expert knowledge for it to be resolved.
     When it became apparent in the early 1970s that the centrally 
planned economy was overproducing certain pesticides, an attempt 
was made to solve the problem by burying the surplus in "tombs" 
(concrete-lined bunkers). There are now some 200 officially
registered  tombs with a capacity of 6,000 tons. It is believed
that the real number  of tombs is considerably higher - around
1,000 tombs containing 12,000  tons of pesticides. The Polish Plant
Protection Council recommends  immediate assessment of water and
soil contamination in places of  storage for unwanted pesticides,
and action to protect the  environment if serious contamination is
found. The report also urges  studies on suitable means of
destroying onsolete pesticides. used  containers, and other
pesticide waste.
     Meanwhile, fears of a major pesticide waste disposal problem
in  the former East Germany are growing. Around 3,000 tons of
pesticides  lost their registrations with German unification or
when the transition  period expired at the end of 1992. The old
stocks are lying around on  the premises of former agrochemical
depots, on farms themselves,  and at three northern area
wholesalers. Experts have forecast that the  cost of clearing the
stocks from one state alone will be at least  DM750,000
(US$500,000), but there is still little idea of how it will 
actually be carried out.
     One German firm has tried to solve their waste disposal 
problem by exporting outdated pesticides to Albania, calling the 
shipments "humanitarian aid." Schmidt-Cretan of Hanover, 
Germany claims that the products, banned for use in Germany because 
they contain mercury, dioxins and lindane, are for active use and
are  not waste. This claim has been rejected by the Albanian
Agriculture  Ministry, as the chemicals had already passed their
expiration date,  thus making them waste In addition, some of these
products,  currently held in storage, are banned in Albania as well
as the  European Community. A Greenpeace toxic waste expert
estimates that  disposing of such waste in Germany costs
DM5,000-11,000 (US$6,600 to  US$18,260) a ton. The company has
refused to take back more than 400  tons of the pesticides seized
so far. 

Source: Agrow, November 6 and December 4, 1992.

For more information, contact Greenpeace Germany,  Votsetzen 53, D-
2000  Hamburg 11, Germany,; telephone 49 40 3111860

This information is provided by the Pesticide Action Network North 
America Updates Service (PANUPS), a pesticide-related news service 
from the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) North American 
Regional Center. Updates are posted weekly on EcoNet in 
"en.pesticides," "en.agriculture" and other appropriate electronic 
conferences, and distributed worldwide across the APC computer 
network. PANUPS is also posted in the Public Conference on RTK 
NET, on GeoNet in the PESTICIDES-BBS bulletin board, on FidoNet in 
The Ecology Network, on the Sustainable Agriculture Network 
(SANET) on BitNet, and on PENpages agriculture information service 
at Penn State Univ. Hard-copy compilations of these updates are
also  available. For more information about PAN activities and
publications,  contact: PAN NA RC, 965 Mission Street #514, San
Francisco, CA 94103.  Tel: (415) 541-9140. Fax: (415) 541-9253.
Telex: 156283472 PANNA. E-mail  address on EcoNet:
[email protected]