Published: Sunday 15 April 2001

Senegal authorities are facing a dilemma on how to dispose off large quantities of dieldrine, a toxic pesticide banned worldwide since 1980. According to Senegal's Plant Protection Services, the country has 67,050 litres of dieldrine. The pesticide originally belonged to a now non-functional regional organisation known as the Common Organisation Against Locusts and Bird Parasites. The organisation comprised 14 countries from west and central Africa.

The authorities have not yet figured out how to get rid of the chemical. "We need the help of donors," said Faustin Diatta, the director of the Senegalese Institute for Agricultural Research (isra). "Our country alone cannot resolve this problem, which requires considerable financial and technical assistance," he added.

"The product is very toxic and its residues can remain in the environment for at least 10 years. Pesticide-laden products can cause health problems, including cancer and genital malformations," warned Safietou Cisse, a researcher at isra .

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