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Inventory of POPs

Developing an inventory of persistent organic pollutants is one of the first most important steps towards the implementation of the Stockholm Convention. This task is aimed at searching for and identifying old, abandoned, unrecorded storage sites of pesticides, and at evaluating the contained volumes of POPs.

Such information will facilitate efforts in developing programmes on elimination and detoxification of hazardous chemicals, in particular efforts to choose the best available technological process, including the mechanisms of safe transportation.

At the moment, the total amount of pesticides prohibited for use in the Russian Federation is estimated at more than 40.000t; the biggest part of it is stored at the sites in the leading agricultural regions of the country. Special attention shall be paid to PCB-containing equipment, such as transformers, capacitors, which according to preliminary estimates is believed to contain more than 30.000t of PCB-contaminated oil.

It is important to emphasize that not all chemicals, listed as POPs and whose production and use shall be immediately stopped, were produced in the Russian Federation (USSR). Such chemicals include aldrin, chlordane, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex. Below is the chart listing the chemicals produced in Russia.  

 

Name

Amount produced, t

Hexachlorobensen

37 000

Toxaphene

~ 150 000

Polychlorinated biphenyls

~ 180 000

DDT

~ 150 000

Unfortunately, up till now a complete inventory of POPs hasn’t been made. However, lately “secondary identification” of unusable pesticides has been taking place, because many storage sites haven’t been accounted for before[1].

Another problem arising after discovering legal and illegal storage sites is the identification of the chemicals, since many discovered pesticides are stored either in damaged containers, or have heterogeneous composition.

The problem of utilisation of containers used for POPs storage is also an important one. Utilisation appears problematic due to the fact that these containers cannot be simply burnt, as it will lead to formation of similarly hazardous chemicals – dioxins and furans. That is there is a need to develop alternative methods of containers utilisation, or establish special storage sites, which will meet international standards of human health and environmental protection.

 

[1] National Agency on toxic wastes