PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS: ASIA
Current and planned measures aimed at liquidation of persistent organic
pollutants and fulfillment of obligations under Stockholm Convention
From the standpoint of Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants the
following objectives are of particular importance to Kyrgyzstan:
a) Unintended production (Article 5, Section C)
Unintended production clause provides for measures aimed at decreasing
cumulative emissions from anthropogenous sources. This Section fosters
replacement of outdated technologies by new less ecologically dangerous ones in
countries, which signed the Convention.
b) Stocks and wastes (Article 6)
Article 6 provides for implementation of national level projects aimed at
identification of products containing persistent organic pollutants. A country
assuming obligations under the convention shall undertake measures to ensure
ecologically safe collection, transportation, conservation, sanitation and, if
necessary, liquidation of wastes containing persistent organic pollutants; as
well as regulation of POP containing products circulation, identification and
regeneration of areas polluted by persistent organic pollutants.
Currently development of the national plan on persistent organic pollutants is a
top priority for Kyrgyzstan. Appropriate projects can be implemented subject to
availability of sufficient financial resources. Considering the lack of internal
financing implementation of projects will depend on international support, which,
in its turn, is subject to Kyrgyzstan signing the Convention.
Consequently, issues related to joining the Stockholm Convention on persistent
organic pollutants profoundly impact economic, social, political and ecological
spheres and can be viewed as steps on the way of Kyrgyzstan’s integration into
the worldwide process of practical cooperation in environmental and public
health protection spheres.
POPs-related documents adopted in Kyrgyzstan
- Decree of the Government of Kyrgyzstan N279 “On national registry of
potentially toxic chemical substances” adopted on July 13, 1995
- Law of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan N12 “On application of chemicals and
plants protection” adopted on January 25, 1999
- Decree of the Government of Kyrgyzstan N513 “On adoption of the
Instruction regulating acquisition, sales, storage, registration and
transportation of highly toxic poisonous substances in the Republic of
Kyrgyzstan” adopted on September 21, 1999
- Decree of the Government of Kyrgyzstan N376 “On measures aimed at
protection of the environment and public health from adverse impacts of
certain dangerous chemical substances and pesticides” adopted on July 27,
The Republic of Kyrgyzstan is a party to the following international
agreements aimed at ensuring safety from chemical pollution:
- Basle Convention on control over cross border transportation and
liquidation of dangerous wastes (ratified in 1995)
- Rotterdam Convention on the procedure of preliminary justified consent
regarding certain dangerous chemical substances and pesticides in
international trade (ratified in 1999)
- UN EEC Convention on cross border long-distance air pollution (joined in
- Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (signed in 2002).
However, Kyrgyzstan did not sign the Protocol on persistent organic
pollutants of UN EEC Convention on cross border long-distance air pollution.
Pesticides – persistent organic pollutants in Kyrgyzstan’s agriculture
Multi-sector agricultural complex plays a fundamental role in the economy of
Kyrgyzstan. More than 60% of the country’s workforce are employed in agriculture
producing about 50% of Kyrgyzstan’s GDP and 40% of national income. Crops
account for more than 40% of the total value produced by all agricultural
sub-sectors. The country’s total agricultural lands stretch for more than 10.1
million hectares with 8.7 million hectares of pastures (86% of all agricultural
lands) and 1.3 million hectares of crop lands, 0.8 million of which are
More than 70% of all crop lands are burdened by medium and high density of waste
plants and lack of herbicides can cause crop yields to drop more than 50%. To
contain adverse impacts on 15 key crops Kyrgyzstan applied more than 100
different types of pesticides.
From 1946 to approximately 1962 the widespread notion was that chemicals could
resolve all of the issues related to adverse impacts caused by insects, diseases
and waste plants. However, optimism had to be curtailed after it became apparent
that pesticides were accumulating in the environment negatively affecting human
beings and surrounding environments. Nevertheless, in late 1980s in Kyrgyzstan
annually more than 5 thousand tones of pesticides were applied to 1 million
hectares of crop lands (cotton, vegetables, tobacco, gardens, wine yards) with
coverage levels estimated at 10 kilograms per hectare and pesticide burden
exceeding 5 kilograms per hectare.
Anti-insects coverage primarily included chlorine-based and phosphate-based
substances. In 1980 more than 50% of anti-insects substances contained GCCG,
however in 1983 GCCG presence decreased and was registered only in 25% of all
anti-insects substances. Later Ministry of health care of the USSR banned GCCG
Within 20 years (1950-1970) the USSR used more than 4.5 million tones of DDT.
Reduction of pesticides supply led to gradual decrease in the amount of crop
lands to which these substances were applied.
Predicted growth of our planet’s population requiring corresponding expansion of
agricultural commodities production served as a reason for constant
intensification of pesticides application in our country. However, when a range
of studies indicated that some insects were resistant to pesticides while
chemicals adversely impacted surrounding environment decisions were made to
discontinue production and application of certain pesticides.
This led to development of a new problem – prohibited pesticides were not
destroyed because of the lack of funding and technical capabilities. Moreover,
centralized planning system provided for additional shipments of chemicals
leading to extensive accumulation of outdated pesticides.
Attempts were made to resolve the problem by constructing long-term storage
facilities – so called, burials. For example, in 1973 more than 1,313 tones of
prohibited and unusable pesticides were buried in trenches and concrete bunkers.
In 1980 pesticides burial levels reached 375 tones.
In the overall range of pesticides-related issues (application, transportation
etc.) storage of pesticides must be among key priorities since this factor
directly impacts environmental safety and effectiveness of pesticides.
Chemicals storage facilities have to meet hygiene and environmental protection
requirements, however, this issue was not addressed 20 or 30 years ago and is
not addressed now. In the Republic 72% of storage facilities (designed to house
35% of pesticides) are adequately equipped but many of them do not meet sanitary
and hygiene requirements. In high elevation regions (Naryn, Issyk-Kul and Talas)
where water streams are generated 90-100% of storage facilities have adequate
storage equipment. However, typical storage facilities often fail to ensure
proper storage procedures, prevent pesticides packaging deterioration and
leakage. Major pesticides storage challenges have been identified at large farms
and joint-stock companies. For example, chemical substances storage audit
conducted by regional and local plants protection stations in cooperation with
National special toxicological control laboratory revealed numerous facts of
poisonous pesticides packaging deterioration, leakage and mixing.
State department of chemical plants protection of Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of
agriculture, water resources and processing industries presented current data
suggesting that as of early 2000 individual farms and branches of the former
“Kyrgyzagriculturalchemistry” conglomerate stored more than 700 tones of
pesticides with only 1.5 tones classified as prohibited pesticides. However, the
same Department indicated that as early as 1989 Kyrgyzstani entities stored 47.9
tones of prohibited pesticides. This amount increased to 170.8 tones by 1994.
Until 1975 a major proportion of chemicals shipped to Kyrgyzstan consisted of
highly toxic substances. Pesticides buried prior to this period also fall into
the highly toxic category.
Pesticides burial and development of long-term storage facilities do not fully
resolve environmental protection issues because new lots of pesticides are
continuously shipped and improperly stored on the territory of the Republic.
Improper inventory management, ineffective sales and distribution systems
further support accumulation of pesticides stockpiles. Significant amounts of
pesticides become outdated and unusable before reaching the fields.
In May 2001 at a conference in Sweden adoption of the Stockholm Convention laid
the legal framework for addressing the whole range of issues related to
persistent organic pollutants (Kyrgyzstan signed the Convention on May 16,
Destruction of unusable and prohibited pesticides represents one of priority
issues for Kyrgyzstan. Unfortunately, the overall situation is not favorable and
general public has no information about the extent of the problems.
Government agencies did not monitor unusable and leftover pesticides after 1989
and 1994 inspections and leftover pesticides stockpiles are not included in
early 2000 data. This of course does not mean that all chemicals were sold to
end-users and applied in the agricultural sector. After the break-up of
collective farms system and reorganization of “Selkhozchemistry” (Agricultural
chemistry) services profound lack of monitoring and control has led to
development of incomplete reports accounting only for pesticides which will be
sold to end-users. Plants protection service inspectors can potentially develop
an inventory of chemicals stored at former “Selkhozchemistry” bases and can
impose a ban on further application of such chemicals. However, farmers continue
to use leftover pesticides from small storage facilities as well as unaccounted
for outdated pesticides. Difficult economic conditions will most likely support
Positive factors supporting resolution of POPs-related issues include adoption
of the Law on application of chemicals and plants protection in December of
1998. Article 14 of the Law provides for prevention of pesticides sales and
mandatory conservation in cases when safety of chemicals can not be guaranteed
in thr process of storage, transportation or application.
Article 19 of the Law stipulates that “detoxification, recycling, destruction
and conservation of unusable or prohibited pesticides and agricultural chemicals,
as well pesticides packaging, has to be ensured by individuals and legal
entities in accordance with legislative acts of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan”.
Producers of pesticides develop conservation methods in cooperation with
specialized chemicals application and plants protection entities with
involvement of local executive branch representatives responsible for
environmental protection and representatives of the state sanitary and
epidemiological supervisory bodies.
Issues related to detoxification of pesticides at producers’ facilities were not
addressed since all pesticides applied in Kyrgyzstan were imported from other
Republics of the former Soviet Union. Export of outdated pesticides for
recycling purposes is not reviewed as an option because of certain
disintegration processes taking place as well as a result of the lack of
adequate legal framework and interstate cooperation. Consequently, Kyrgyzstan
has to bear the full burden of pesticides recycling issues. Above mentioned Laws
provide legal framework for State department of chemical plants protection and
its local oversight units to monitor chemical substances circulation (exports
and imports). However, the Department did not conduct any pesticides
conservation or destruction procedures after 1980 (many of the pesticides are
classified as persistent organic pollutants).
Data presented by Kyrgyzstan’s State Hydro Meteorology Agency indicates that
systematically residual quantities of DDT group chemicals are detected in such
rivers as Chu, Naryn, Kara-Darya, Yassy etc. In southern part of the Republic
mountain and valley gray soils covered with cultivated crops concentration of
GCCG isomers reaches 0.01-0.06 milligram per kilogram of soil; DDT isomers
concentration – 0.10-0.17 milligram per kilogram of soil.
By V.A. Pak
Chief, State department of chemical plants protection,
Ministry of agriculture, water resources and processing industries,
Republic of Kyrgyzstan