UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) have joined hands with the government to destroy DDT powder deemed to be very harmful for environment.
The two global organisations will extend financial assistance to a Tk 355 crore scheme that the government is undertaking to scientifically and safely destroy stockpile of some 1,000 tonnes of DDT powder outside the country.For this, Economic Relations Division (ERD) under the ministry of finance signed a grant agreement with FAO at a function at ERD on Thursday.
With the money, the government will implement a project called ‘Pesticide Risk Reduction in Bangladesh’ to destroy the DDT powder stock, posing serious environmental risk for the country for many years.
GEF will provide Tk 70.10 crore and FAO Tk 66.25 crore while the government will bear Tk 218.65 crore for the job.
ERD Secretary Monowar Ahmed and FAO Representative in Bangladesh Robert D Simpson signed the financing deal for their respective sides.
The main objective of the initiative is to destroy a total of 1,000 tonnes of expired DDT powder with internationally recognised scientific method and safely at a specified place outside Bangladesh territory.
Of the powder stockpile, 500 tonnes has remained stuck at a medical sub-depot in Agrabad, Chattogram of health department while another 500 tonnes of powder is in three other medical sub-depots.Moreover, recovery to the damaged environment and awareness on environment, agriculture, fishery, livestock and public health will be done under the scheme.
The stockpile has remained in Chattogram medical sub-depot where due to the adverse effect of humid tropical climate on DDT molecular stability the stock has become severely degraded and largely obsolete.
In addition, in 1991 the area was exposed to the severe floods that exacerbated greatly the problem by flushing DDT into the surrounding environment.
DDT persists in soil, water and bio-accumulates in organisms through the food chain. While DDT is banned for use as an agricultural pesticides, testing has shown high concentration of DDT in dry fish in Bangladesh, posing a serious health risk.
In general, in Bangladesh there is neither strategy nor capacity for collecting and disposing of hazardous waste such as obsolete pesticides.