Published: Friday 15 June 2001

-- More than 500,000 tonnes of obsolete pesticides are threatening the environment and the health of millions of people in almost all developing countries, warns the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Asia accounts for 200,000 tonnes of these pesticides, Africa for 100,000 tonnes and eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States for 200,000 tonnes. FAO is still preparing records for Latin America.

"These pesticides are a looming threat to the environment and human health. Urgent action should be taken to dispose them off," said Alemayehu Wodageneh, FAO's expert on pesticides. These pesticides got accumulated because they were not disposed after being banned. In many African countries, for example, dieldrin was used to control locust outbreaks until the late 1980s. Though now it is banned existing stocks have not been removed.

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