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Tauw is helping to clean up sites contaminated with POP pesticides in Vietnam

Datum: 03-07-2013

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in Vietnam has started a pilot project to cleanup a large number of sites contaminated with POP pesticides. Tauw assists in coordinating the cleanup activities.

The highly contaminated soil and POP pesticides waste/residues used to be stored in concrete bunkers, pits, and, occasionally, in stores. In order to gain experience, 9 sites will be cleared during the pilot, which will involve digging up, packing and finally the destruction of approximately 1,000 tonnes of highly contaminated soil and pure POP pesticides, waste/residues.

The project is funded by the World Bank / United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and is carried out by a Project Management Unit (PMU), established for this purpose, within the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Vietnam.

Tauw’s role
Tauw is the PMU’s technical advisor. The actual cleanup of the sites started on 10 June. Tauw is present in Vietnam to ensure the cleanup activities run smoothly. Among other things, Tauw is assisting the PMU in the execution of the project and performing environmental and safety supervision during the work.

POPs
From the 1950s to the 1970s, large amounts of POP pesticides were used around the world to increase food production. POP pesticides were widely used in agriculture, but they are the beginning of this century banned in many countries. This has led to storage of large amounts of POP pesticides, which have not always been treated and stored in the right way. This poses a great threat to the surrounding environment and people’s health.

Tauw is active globally in the inventory and cleanup of stock POP pesticides and the remediation of POP pesticides contaminated sites. Together with (local) authorities we work towards safe storage and destruction of these toxic substances and remediation of contaminated sites. In addition, we provide training for governments (capacity building) within the context of the implementation of the Stockholm Convention on POPs.

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) entered into force on 17 May 2004. A large number of Countries are now party to this Convention. The Convention started to imposes a worldwide ban on the production and trade in eight pesticides (aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex and toxaphene), two industrial chemicals (hexachlorobenzene and PCBs) and two by-products of incineration processes (dioxins and furans) from 2004 onwards. These substances are designated as POPs, are toxic and can be transported over great distances through the air or water. POPs can cause adverse effects on the environment and health because they accumulate in organisms. This can result in cancer, sterility and disruption of the immune system.