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UNDP partners with government to recycle pesticides

By Ernest Petrosyan
Monday, June 11
The United Nations Development Programme and the Georgian Ministry of Environmental Protection have launched a three-year, $3.5 million USD project intended to reduce the decades-long accumulation of persistent organic polluters (POP), otherwise known as pesticides.

The project's objective is to “minimize releases of POPs from obsolete pesticide stockpiles in Georgia and create capacity in management of the POPs pesticide stockpiles”. This will directly contribute to the broader goal of “support[ing] sustainable development through elimination of POPs from the environment”.

UNDP Deputy Local Representative Inita Paulovica and Minister of Environmental Protection Goga Khachidze held meetings with representatives of the Kvemo Kartli government, the Marneuli municipality, and NGOs, to detail the construction of safe storage at the Ialguja dumpsite, in order to house approximately 230 tonnes of obsolete POPs.

The project will also include training, a focus on changing legislation, establishment of monitors, and a minimization of discharge from obsolete pesticide dumps.

“I think that this is a precedential, practical, and important project. Practically, it is the first time when outdated persistent organic pollutants, namely, outdated pesticides, go out to Europe, where they will be recycled. About 270 tonnes of outdated pesticides will be packed and sent to Europe, and the Marneuli region will be free of these pollutants, and this is very much appreciated,” Khachidze said.

Paulovica noted that the meeting was important, as the project hopes to inform the local community about not only the project, but the effects of POPs on their health. “We are ready to provide technical support to completely clean this area,” she said.

PoPs are chemical substances with toxic properties, which resist biodegradation, bio-accumulate, and are transported through air and water and can re-deposit far from their place of release. They accumulate in land and aquatic ecosystems and can have significant impacts on human health and the environment.

POP pesticides, mainly DDT, began accumulating in Georgia during early 1970s, due to the oversupply of pesticides as a result of the former planned economy. The pesticides were stored across the country at farming centers and small warehouses.