Chemical plants protection means are widely used in Uzbekistan’s agricultural sector. In 1980s annually more up to 100-120 tones of pesticides were applied with more than half of the quantity represented by persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

Within last decade pesticides application policies have been substantially modified. New generation of pesticides was introduced to Uzbekistan’s market for agricultural chemicals with new pesticides marked by high efficiency ratios, small dozes required to achieve maximum results and limited adverse side effects affecting people and the environment. Comprehensive control system was established to execute control over registration of imported and locally produced dangerous chemical substances. Production and application of 22 types of persistent organic pollutants, including DDT and GCCG, was banned.

Despite these actions, in Uzbekistan still there are significant quantities of outdated unused pesticides subject to utilization or conservation.

Key POPs-related pesticides pollution sources include mineral fertilizers warehouses, long-term poisonous substances storage facilities, former agricultural aviation air fields. Polychlorine biphenils are classified as industrial chemicals. They are widely used as additives to electrical machinery oils, hydraulic machinery and other types of equipment thanks to an array of beneficial physical properties, such as fire resistance, low electricity penetration rates, high resistance to heat. Polychlorine biphenils are not produced in Uzbekistan. However, for many years Chyriksk Transformer Plant actively utilized additives to transformer oils. Currently there are about 400 kilograms of additives still stored at Chyriksk Plant. However, in Uzbekistan there is no information regarding total amounts of oil additives in electric equipment and industrial wastes.

Analytical identification of persistent organic pollutants in the environment is challenging and that is why systematic monitoring is not conducted. Based on data compiled by Central Asian branch of the Hydro Meteorology Scientific Research Institute, POPs were identified in all environmental components, including soils, air, water and seabed accumulations.

As for persistent organic pollutants classified as byproducts, analytical control of these substances is impossible because ecological analysis laboratories lack appropriate equipment. Uzbekistan does not conduct monitoring and research related to these types of persistent organic pollutants.

In 2001 the Republic of Uzbekistan in technical cooperation with UNEP developed an inventory of outdated, unused and prohibited pesticides.

Compiled analytical data indicates that 1,432 tones of pesticides are classified as outdated or banned pesticides including 118 tones classified as persistent organic pollutants. Poisonous substances conservation facilities contain more than 15 thousand tones of pesticides banned or not registered in Uzbekistan.

All outdated, unused and banned pesticides can be divided into the following categories based on their chemical contents:

- 26.2% - chlorine organic substances
- 31.8% - phosphate organic substances
- 42.0% - represent other classes of chemical substances

In Uzbekistan there are 13 poisonous substances conservation facilities covering the total of 60 hectares. Most of the facilities are filled with pesticides, primarily, persistent organic pollutants, covered with concrete blocks and soil. However, there are, also, partially filled open facilities such as Tuprakkaly storage facility in Khorezm region having profound adverse impacts on the environment.

Since 1972 poisonous substances storage facilities contain outdated prohibited pesticides. Last registered deposits into the facilities date back to 1993. Currently available data suggests that in total facilities contain 15 thousand tones of pesticides (20 to 1100 tones in each of the facilities). These figures include large quantities of persistent organic pesticides, such as DDT and GCCG.

To assess current status of the poisonous substances storage facilities and their environmental impact we analyzed data presented in the framework of Environmental Pollution Sources Monitoring initiative. Research indicates that several storage facilities serve as POPs pollution sources for soils, underground waters and adjacent territories. Located in the sands of Kyzylkum desert close to “Pitnyak” waste collector Yanygar storage facility (Khorezm region) poses significant danger to the environment. In soils GCCG concentrations are 17 times higher than maximum acceptable concentration limits, DDT concentrations are 30 times higher. In soils adjacent to a storage facility in Djizak region DDT concentrations are 20 times greater than maximum acceptable concentration limits.

In Uzbekistan there are more than 450 former agricultural aviation air fields. They serve as major sources of pollution by chlorine-based pesticides. 434 air fields have been evaluated leading to assessment of corresponding POPs pollution levels. In 149 cases pollution levels are 20 times higher than acceptable parameters. Air fields exhibiting particularly high pollution levels have been included into the Monitoring program ensuring on-going evaluation of pollution parameters.

Uzbekistan has established the legal framework and adopted series of legislative acts governing production, exports, imports and application of pesticides classified as persistent organic pollutants.
* The Law “On agricultural plants protection” aims to ensure protection of the environment and public health from adverse influences of chemical plants protection means.
* Decree N33 adopted by Uzbekistan’s Cabinet of Ministers on January 20, 1999 “On issues related to organization and activities of the State Commission on the use of chemical substances and plants protection”
*Decree N 151 adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers on April 19, 2001 “On regulation of ecologically dangerous products and wastes shipments to and from the territory of the Republic of Uzbekistan”.

POPs regulation issues constitute a significant part of Uzbekistan’s National environmental protection action plan and “Uzbekistan’s environmental protection program of actions for the period of 1999-2005”.

Following an initiative introduced by Uzbekistan’s State Committee on Nature, chemical plants protection substances covered by 1998 Rotterdam Convention became a part of Uzbekistan’s National “Registry of banned and limited application active and inactive ingredients of plants protection means” adopted on March 28, 2002 at a meeting of State Chemicals Commission under the auspices of Uzbekistan’s Cabinet of Ministers. In accordance with this international Convention, the list of dangerous chemical substances contains 22 pesticides. All of these substances are persistent chlorine-based pesticides. Many countries recognize these substances as harmful for the environment and public health and many of them are banned.

To protect public health and environment from the impacts of persistent organic pollutants special measures are undertaken to decrease concentration of particular pollutants causing the greatest concerns.

Uzbekistan annually updates the “List of chemical and biological plants protection means cleared for application”. The country’s State Chemicals Commission develops the list based on tests and recommendations provided by agricultural scientific research institutes, units of the State Committee on Nature and medical research centers.

Scientific research institutes operated by Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Healthcare conduct thorough hygiene and toxicological evaluation of new pesticides offered for registration in the Republic. Pesticide tests are accompanied by development of scientifically grounded hygiene norms and regulations for each individual substance. Chief State Sanitary Doctor of Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Healthcare approves proposed substance application regulations. Hygiene norms and regulations for chemical substances used in Uzbekistan help to ensure effective and safe application of the substances accounting for the country’s unique regional conditions.

Conservation of dangerous chemical substances will require technical and financial support to be provided by international organizations. Sufficient support can be secured only if the country signs the Stockholm Convention.
  If Uzbekistan joins the Stockholm Convention the country’s dangerous chemical substances management capabilities will be expanded by:

  • Establishing the National registry of dangerous persistent organic pollutants ensuring compliance with international standards
  • Developing and implementing an action plan aimed at reduction or elimination of certain types of environmental pollution based on new technological applications, financial and technical support and cooperation in the framework of the Convention
  • Gaining access to international databases on ecological, technical and economic parameters of persistent organic pollutants and by developing alternatives to persistent organic pollutants.
Currently in Uzbekistan appropriate agencies realize acuteness of environmental and health-related threats represented by persistent organic pollutants and consultations are taking place with participation of Uzbekistan’s national government representatives. The fact that amounts of financial contributions expected from the Convention’s signers have not been determined represents one of the key factors hindering progress in the discussions. Respective amounts of contributions will be determined not earlier than at the first conference of participating states.

By K. Sadykov,
Chief, Section of the State specialized analytical control inspection,
Uzbekistan’s State Committee on Nature

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