“PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS:
PROBLEMS, INTERNATIONAL INITIATIVES, PUBLIC ACTIONS”
November 4-5, 2002 Almaty
hosted a regional consultations seminar “Persistent organic
pollutants:problems, international initiatives, public actions”.
Participants of the event included government officials dealing with
issues related to persistent organic pollutants (POPs), agencies and Ministries
responsible for environmental protection, non-governmental organizations from
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadjikistan and Uzbekistan.
The seminar was organized by Ecological News Agency Greenwomen (Kazakhstan),
Center “Gender: innovations and development” (Uzbekistan) with financial support
provided by Central Asian Regional Ecological Center (CAREC, Kazakhstan).
Seminar participants presented reports informing about POPs-related issues in
their respective countries.
A number of key issues were addressed in the course of the seminar. Particularly,
seminar participants identified the need to adopt special laws governing issues
related to persistent organic pollutants.
Participating countries recognized the lack of qualified specialists.
POPs management issues were also addressed based on shared understanding that
POPs management can be based only on the knowledge of full POPs cycle. Central
Asian states do not produce pesticides. The cycle starts from the imports stage.
Consequently, it is necessary to introduce controls over pesticides
transportation, as well as pesticides application, recycling and destruction
monitoring procedures. There is a need to establish a special administrative
body ensuring implementation of controls over persistent organic pollutants and
enforcement of management procedures. It is necessary to create a comprehensive
action plan aimed at resolving problems related to persistent organic pollutants.
There are also issues related to data collection. It is difficult to gather data
concerning pesticides even at the local level. Journalists often encounter
unwillingness of many officials to share information.
Participants of the seminar agreed that NGOs could play an active role in
resolving issues related to persistent organic pollutants. Small concrete
actions can serve as a strong starting point. There are several existing
practical examples of such actions. Ms. Yulia Kalmykova, a representative of
Ecomuseum (Karaganda) informed the audience that her organization had been
dealing with POPs-related issues since 1997 in the framework of its other
projects. For example, “The clean river” project implemented by Ecomuseum
provided for POPs testing in local rivers. At the time POPs were detected,
however, in quantities within established nominal limits. First tests had to be
done in Novosibirsk since Kazakhstan did not have adequate testing facilities.
Ecomuseum highlighted a major issue – laboratories of state monitoring agencies
do not have standards for POPs control. Ecomuseum believes that laboratories of
state monitoring agencies have to work with the list of persistent organic
In 1997 Ecomuseum started to address the issue of burning household wastes and
fallen leaves. As a result of concentrated efforts, currently fallen leaves are
not burnt but transported outside city limits or buried. A lot of work had to be
done to bring about change. Ecomuseum published newspaper articles, aired a PSA.
Organization’s representatives actively lobbied at local and regional-level
government agencies. Ecomuseum representative believes that there are measurable
results – unauthorized garbage dumpsters disappeared from the banks of small
Ecomuseum works in close cooperation with NGOs from other regions. For example,
in the summer of 2002 a joint Irtysh basing tour was implemented in cooperation
with NGO representatives from Eastern Kazakhstan. The tour was launched at
Ridder (former Leninogorsk). NGO representatives highlighted an atrocious fact:
Ridder Zinc Plant recycles transformers from Tumen. Ridder Plant is an old
enterprise lacking proper waste management facilities. Consequently, the plant
dumps all harmful wastes into Ulba river. Ecomuseum intends to continue
cooperation with NGOs from Eastern Kazakhstan. Currently a project is being
developed to mount public actions against waste mongers.
Director of the Central Asian Regional Ecological center, Mr. Bulat Esekin
discussed the issue of public participation in implementation of the Convention
on persistent organic pollutants and stressed that all interested parties had to
take part in the process. To support active participation it is necessary to
- distribution of information
- education of different constituencies
- accounting for opinions of all interested parties.
Mr. Esekin, also, stressed that the Laws would not work without proper
implementation mechanisms to be developed with active participation of the
The seminar led to development of specific recommendations aimed at fostering
active public participation in resolving POPs-related issues.
Several proposals have been announced in Kokshetau at a roundtable organized in
the framework of the information project in mid-September 2002.
Participants of the seminar highlighted the global nature of issues related to
persistent organic pollutants and acuteness of these issues for all countries of
the region. All parties concerned have to participate in resolving POPs-related
Participants of the seminar outlined the following key directions aimed at
encouraging public participation in resolving POPs-related issues:
- public participation in decision-making;
- cross-sector and cross-national interaction;
- informational and educational activities;
- actions aimed at resolving POPs-related issues.
Recommendations of the regional consultations seminar on public actions aimed
at resolving POPs-related issues.