Baltic countries have stopped using 26 pesticides

A new report has revealed that 26 of the most hazardous pesticides, which had been selected as requiring immediate priority action are no longer in use or have been banned in all countries bordering the Baltic Sea.

The Pesticides Report, compiled by the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, know as the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), is based on questionnaires sent out to all nine countries bordering the Baltic Sea. The 26 pesticides that are now out of use, nine of which are persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and as such are covered by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants 2001 , were selected for immediate action due to properties, such as persistency, toxicity and tendency to bioaccumulate.

However, there are still stockpiles of obsolete pesticides being stored in the Baltic countries – as there are around the world, and many stocks have seriously deteriorated and are currently a source of severe pollution, says HELCOM. In many countries, unquantified amounts of soil and building materials have been heavily contaminated by pesticides leaking from inadequate storage facilities, according to the organisation. The current amount of accumulated old stocks is: 445 tonnes in Estonia, with an unknown amount yet to be identified; 2060 tonnes in Lithuania – 214 tonnes of which are banned pesticides, and 1350 tonnes have not yet been identified; and 1480 tonnes in Latvia, 130 tonnes of which have yet to be identified.

At the other end of the pollutant spectrum, HELCOM recently announced that discharges into the Baltic Sea of the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus are also of concern, although, on the whole, they have decreased since the end of the 1980s.

The nine POP pesticides are: aldrin, chrlordane, dieldrin, DDT, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, mirex, and toxaphene; and the remaining 17 pesticides include lindane and quintozene.

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