Turkmenistan – a new independent state located in western part of Central Asia. The country’s climate is acutely continental. Arid climate fosters accumulation of various pollutants, including persistent toxic substances. Currently Turkmenistan experiences a period of dynamic industrial and agricultural development, particularly, in such spheres as extraction and processing of hydrocarbons, power generation and chemical industry. Potential sources of persistent toxic substances include several enterprises working as units of Turkmendokunchemistry concern (Turkmen agricultural chemistry), such as fertilizers production complexes in Turkmenabat and Mari, chemical plants in Balkanabat and Khazar.

At the same time significant amounts of persistent toxic substances, such as dioxins result from burning household wastes at urban garbage collection facilities. These assumptions are purely hypothetical since there is no established system ensuring constant monitoring of persistent toxic substances, except for chlorine-based organic pesticides (DDT and its metabolites).

Application of the vast majority of persistent chlorine-based pollutants is prohibited in Turkmenistan. At the same time residual DDT accumulations have been identified in all agricultural regions.

As a result of inadequate monitoring of persistent toxic substances there are no programs ensuring control over emissions of above mentioned pollutants. Within next several years development of dioxins monitoring system should be among our top priorities, which will require across the board upgrades of technical and laboratory facilities.

Currently one of the major issues is represented by the need to store large quantities of pesticides and other outdated chemical substances, as well as substances banned from further application. Storage of highly toxic substances is a major toxicological, hygiene and ecological issue, which has to be addressed at the national government level.

Currently more than 1,350 tones of above mentioned substances are stored in specialized facilities located in four regions of the country.

Unfortunately, inadequate attention is devoted to the outdated pesticides recycling issues. As a result of the lack of economically justified effective recycling methodologies almost all pesticides are utilized by means of conservation.

By V. Glazovskii
Chief, Department of Turkmenistan’s Ministry of Nature

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