Toxic waste cleanup, introduction of better practices

Work focuses on environmental contamination by the most relevant pollutants in terms of health impacts to people. Though these are not always acutely toxic substances their impact derives from their wide use in the economy and in some cases their high mobility in the environment. This includes substances like persistent organic pollutants (POPs), obsolete pesticides, heavy metals, and uranium.

Currently, emphasis of the Environmental Security and Sustainability programme is on addressing the legacy of obsolete pesticides. Estimations are that globally 4-10 million metric tonnes of obsolete pesticides await their identification and safe destruction.

Green Cross conducts a range of activities to respond to these threats, including capacity building in 12 countries of the former Soviet Union on the management cycle for obsolete pesticides. This includes introduction of international best practices according to FAO's Environmental Management Toolkit and repackaging of these hazardous materials in to date Azerbaijan and Belarus.

Green Cross is also conducting a joint project with UNEP and WHO to develop alternatives to DDT to fight the recurrence of malaria in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Emphasis is given to the development of an Integrated Vector Management approach based on non-chemical alternatives like introduction of the gambusia fish, bed- or window-nets, environmental management, etc. as transmission vectors will always, over time, develop resistance to chemicals. In the frame of the same project, at least 180 metric tonnes of DDT should be identified and repackaged.

Other work also includes 

  • The removal of lead-contaminated soil and the reduction of blood lead-levels in children by 60% in the Rudnaya River Valley in the Russian Far East.
  • The improvement of community health in Kyrgyzstan‘s Mailuu-Suu area by reducing exposure to radioactive materials from nearby uranium mining tailings.
  • Development and promotion of improved practices in lead-battery recycling in Senegal as well as clean-up of lead-contaminated sites.
  • The introduction of improved agricultural methods in Burkina Faso to reduce reliance on agrochemicals and lower CO2 emissions and dioxin creation.
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