Environmentally sound disposal of obsolete pesticides


Worker with pesticides
Switzerland supports the disposal of about 4,500 tonnes of toxic pesticides stored in Bulgarian warehouses. © SECO/DEZA

The project aims to support Bulgaria in the environmentally friendly disposal of several thousand tons of dangerous obsolete chemicals from the days of Communist rule and thereby removes a serious threat to public health and environment.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bulgaria
Protecting the environment
Waste disposal
21.04.2015 - 07.12.2019
CHF 19'929'098

Note: the texts under all the headings, with the exception of 'Results achieved', describe the situation before the start of the project.

Background

As a relict of the socialist era, Bulgaria had about 14’000 tons of obsolete pesticides and other crop protection products, affecting more than 260 municipalities spread all over the territory. In earlier environmental programmes, financed and executed by the state Enterprise for Management of Environmental Protection Activities (EMEPA), a large part of these dangerous toxic substances were packed in hermetically closed concrete containers. The disposal of the remaining 4500 tons of obsolete pesticides was proposed to Switzerland as the highest national priority in the field of waste management.

Objectives

The overall objective of the project is to help Bulgaria, and notably the numerous generally weak rural communities affected by the problem, get rid of several thousand tons of dangerous obsolete chemicals.

Target groups

The direct beneficiary is the Bulgarian government and its Enterprise for Management of the Environment Protection Activities (EMEPA), which will benefit from a budget relief.
The indirect beneficiaries will be 100 affected municipalities and their 2'258'728 inhabitants, whose economic and social conditions will be improved through the reduction of environmental risks and public health hazards.

Activities

The project consists in the environmentally sound disposal of around 4500 tons of dangerous obsolete chemicals (pesticides and other crop protection products) presently stored in more than 200 sometimes derelict warehouses through the repackaging, transportation, export and final disposal through incineration in specialized facilities. The handling, transport and disposal of these pesticides, many of which are categorized as dangerous persistent organic pollutants (POPs), is strictly regulated by international treaties. Consequently the requirements for the handling and transportation of the pesticides along the whole chain until their final disposal are precisely defined and have to be followed exactly.

Results

Achieved results:  

by the end of 2018

The disposal work to address this serious environmental problem is under way.


Expected results:  

  • The environmentally sound disposal of about 4500 tons of obsolete pesticides and other plant protection products, including their removal from storage sites, transportation and incineration in specialized facilities.
  • The vacation of over 200 warehouses in 100 municipalities after the removal of obsolete pesticides.
  • The restoration of warehouses to make them proper for other uses. The specific targets are thereby:
    - at least 40% restored from the total surface of emptied warehouses
    - at least 50% sanitized areas from the total vacated premises of warehouses already free from obsolete pesticides.
  • The identification and registration of soil contaminations on the sites where obsolete pesticides were formerly stored.


Directorate/federal office responsible SECO
Credit area Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU
Project partners Contract partner
  • National Coordination Unit
  • Bulgarian Monitoring of EU Funds Directorate and Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water

Implementing partner
EMEPA (Enterprise for Management of the Environment Protection Activities)

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   19'929'098 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   128'811
Project phases Phase 10 21.04.2015 - 07.12.2019   (Current phase)