Реализация Стокгольмской конвенции о стойких органических загрязнителях в Республике Беларусь
POPs in Belarus


General information


POPs in Belarus

POPs in Belarus

In the period 1971-1978 more than 3,700 tonnes of pesticides were disposed of in seven repositories located in Brest Oblast (Gershony village), Vitebsk Oblast (Verkhnedvinskoye, Postavskoye, Gorodokskoye respositories), Gomel Oblast (Petrikovskoye repository), Grodno Oblast (Slonimskoye repository) and Mogilev Oblast (Dribinskoye repository). Since these repositories posed a serious threat to the environment, in 1988 at the initiative of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment it was decided to ban pesticide disposal. It is noteworthy that the state of pesticides in underground repositories requires constant monitoring due to the increased risk of their migration to the environment.

In 2007, pursuant to the National Plan on Implementation of Obligations undertaken by the Republic of Belarus under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants for the period 2007-2010 and up to 2028 adopted by Presidential Decree #271 of 12 June 2007, Brest repository of obsolete pesticides (Gershony village) was eliminated. The recovered obsolete pesticides were repacked and transferred into ecologically sound storage.

Today about 40% (or 2,824.8 tonnes) of the total amount of obsolete pesticides are kept in six repositories. Three of them are located in Vitebsk Oblast (Verkhnedvinskoye, Postavskoye, Gorodokskoye). There is one repository in Gomel Oblast (Petrikovskoye), Grodno Oblast (Slonimskoye) and Mogilev Oblast (Dribinskoye).

The Verkhnedvinskoye repository of pesticides is located to the northwest of Verkhnedvinsk District, 8 km northwest of the Belarusian-Latvian border. The site consists of four 1-meter deep trenches with the total capacity of about 600 cubic meters. It contains 454.5 tonnes of pesticides of 47 types, some of them are POPs.

The Gorodokskoye repository of pesticides is located 10 km northeast of the Belarusian-Russian border and 36 km from Gorodok. The data about the composition of the pesticide repository has not survived. According to the ecological certificate of 1990 the only available data is the total weight (411.4 tonnes), hazard class (1st class - 43,628 tonnes; 3rdclass - 130,146 tonnes; 4th class - 237,695 tonnes). The prevailing number of them (58%) are low-hazard pesticides. High-hazard pesticides account for 10%. By analogy with other repositories it can be suggested that about half of pesticides of Gorodokskoye repository are organochloride. The rest are organophosphorous, simazine triazine and inorganic compounds.

The Postavskoye repository was built in 1971 and is located in the southern part of Postavy District of Vitebsk Oblast. The data about the repository of hazardous pesticides has not survived. According to the ecological certificate, the total weight of chemicals is 99 tonnes, of them 16.3 tonnes are classified as 2nd hazard class, 33 tonnes as 3rdclass and 49,7 tonnes as 4th class. By analogy with other repositories we can assume that they have the same composition.

The Petrikovskoye repository of obsolete pesticides is the biggest repository on the territory of Belarus. It is located in the northern part of Petrikov District of Gomel Oblast, 42 km northeast of Petrikov, regional centre. The repository is within the jurisdiction of the inspection of natural resources and environmental protection of Oktiabr District. The site is located in Koshevichi forestry and occupies 0.6 hectares. In 1974-1988 as many as 1,423.3 tonnes of obsolete and banned pesticides were buried there.

Slonim District of Grodno Oblast has one of the biggest repositories of obsolete pesticides. According to the data of the Ministry of Agriculture and Foodstuffs it contains 882 tonnes of pesticides, including 447.2 tonnes of DDT (74.3%) and 1.8 tonnes of hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH). However, during the elimination of the repository it was discovered that the amount of obsolete pesticides had been greatly underestimated. The Slonimskoye repository was built in 1974. The design and construction documents have not survived. It is unknown if any engineering study (field survey and engineering-geological study) was made therefore it is impossible to accurately evaluate the level of protection of pesticides from being released into the atmosphere which is crucial for their dissolution and migration to the underground hydrosphere.

The Dribinskoye repository of pesticides is located in the eastern part of Dribin District, 11 km to southeast of Dribino, regional center. It was built in three stages:in 1974, 1983 and 1988. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Foodstuffs of the Republic of Belarus the total weight of pesticides is estimated at 541 tonnes, however, during the study conducted by the Central Research and Development Institute of Water Management only 353,737 tonnes of pesticides were  identified, of them 98.74 tonnes DDT.  

In 2008-2009 Gomel Oblast took measures to eliminate Petrikovskoye repository of obsolete pesticides.

Today work is underway to eliminate Slonim repository of obsolete pesticides. As of 18 October 2011, the recovery of pesticides from the biggest trench at the Slonim repository of obsolete pesticides had been completed (there are two trenches and one concrete bunker at the site). A total of 950 tonnes of pesticides was recovered and repacked. They are being transported to Germany for ecologically sound disposal.

The efforts on Slonim repository elimination in 2011 were funded by the Global Environmental Facility grant issued under the international technical assistance project “Treatment of persistent organic pollutants (Component C of the comprehensive project on solid waste treatment in the Republic of Belarus)”. 

In order to ensure implementation of the obligations undertaken by the Republic of Belarus under the Stockholm Convention and in line with the environmental monitoring about 150 potential sources of POPs were pretested (obsolete pesticides repositories, household and industrial landfills, sludge lagoons, sewage fields, etc) with 250 samples taken and 3,500 analyses made annually. This allowed launching systematic monitoring of chlorine-containing pesticides and PCB near the biggest and potentially dangerous sources of POPs release.

Besides, there is a regular monitoring of POPs in water and bottom sediments of transfrontier sections of 35 Belarusian rivers.

There are no chlorine-containing pesticides in surface and underground waters, except for heptachlor found in some samples of underground waters located in close vicinity to Postavskoye, Dribinskoye and Petrikovskoye repositories. The heptachlor concentration accounted for thousands of the maximum permissible concentration (MPC).

The monitoring of farmlands and soil near stockpiles of obsolete pesticides revealed pesticides identified as POPs (DDT, dieldrin and endrin) in 30% and 24% of samples respectively.

The DDT concentration in farmlands did not exceed 0.03-0.06 of MPC. The dieldrin and endrin concentration found in two samples was even lower than that of DDT.

DDT was found in 24% of soil samples from stockpiles of obsolete pesticides (ranging between 10 and 50 microgram per kilo of soil with 0.01-0.05 MPC), in some soil samples endrin and eldrin were detected (1-10 mcg/kg).

Underground waters in the regions close to household solid waste (HSW) dumps, sewage fields and other sources of underground water contamination as well as surface waters near transfrontier sections of Belarusian rivers are tested for polychlorinated biphenyls.

According to 2010 inventory, there are 7,300 tonnes of obsolete pesticides in Belarus. About 2,832 tonnes are stockpiled in agricultural companies; 2,824.706 tonnes are buried. About 95% of obsolete pesticides kept at agricultural companies were repacked.

Pesticides listed as POPs, undetermined mixtures and unidentified liquids are mainly held at warehouses of agricultural companies subordinate to Belagroservis, collective and state farms, greenhouse compounds, agricultural cooperatives. There are no obsolete pesticides identified as POPs nor unidentified mixtures and liquids in Gomel Oblast as in 1999-2004 the oblast plant protection center collected and transported them to the only company specializing in recycling and disposal of hazardous and toxic industrial waste in Belarus – Compound for recycling and disposal of toxic industrial waste of Gomel oblast”.

Analysis of the data provided at the request of the Ministry of Nature as well as visual inspection of stockpiles of obsolete pesticides showed that the state of warehouse is predominately satisfactory (92%). Every warehouse has a responsible officer assigned from the administrative staff of the agricultural company and the majority of warehouses has in-house security. Nonetheless, obsolete pesticides, including POPs, are not kept in proper conditions that meet modern environmental standards (repacked and not packed pesticides are kept together, containers are not destroyed after use). Today the repackaging of obsolete pesticide stocks is almost completed.

On the whole according to the monitoring the situation with POPs concentration in the environment in Belarus can be called satisfactory – these substances are found only in some samples from places of stockpiling and disposal of obsolete pesticides. Their concentrations do not exceed permitted levels.