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In 2018, the Coalition “Toxic Free Tajikistan”, together with the Committee for Environmental Protection of the Republic of Tajikistan, initiated the first “Pollutant Management and Health Protection Plan” in order to fulfill the country’s obligations under the Stockholm Convention on POPs. This work was supported by the European Union (EU), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Pure Earth and the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP). The development of this health and pollution action plan (HPAP) was made possible through a collaborative process that included leadership and technical inputs from the following Government Agencies, NGOs and public organizations:
- Committee for Environmental Protection under the Republic of Tajikistan;
- Regional, district and city departments of environmental protection;
- Khukumats of Khatlon and Sughd regions, districts and cities of the Republic of Tajikistan, where inventory studies were carried out;
- Pure Earth/ Blacksmith Institute (USA);
- The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization;
- Peshsaf ;
- Rushdie Dior;
- Zanoni Shark;
- Sadoi Kuhsor;
- Mokhi Munir.
Progress to date
HPAP process was completed in December 2020 and was signed by the Committee for Environmental Protection under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan.
Priority issues and Results
The main pollution problem prioritized by this plan is obsolete pesticides. During the Soviet Union era, the number of pesticides brought to Tajikistan exceeded actual application needs by 1.5-2 times. As a result, excessive volumes of pesticides were accumulating in multiple storages and distribution centers of the “Tajikselkhozkhimiya” Republican Service. Due to the large volumes of unused pesticides, various violations occurred: pesticides were distributed to individuals for uncontrolled use. There was a human cost to this, as according to the World Health Organization (WHO) / United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Human Milk Survey, the concentration of Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) in breastmilk in Tajikistan is the highest in the world. This indicates very high levels of exposure of people to DDT – a toxic organochlorine persistent pollutant.
This plan provides a detailed assessment of the most dangerous POPs, discusses the need to clean contaminated legacy sites, and restore storage facilities to prevent future emissions to the environment and human exposures.
The Pollutant Management and Health Protection Plan is considered by the government to be the main plan for the Republic of Tajikistan to deliver upon its obligations under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), and thus it enjoys significant political and legal support from the Government. Implementation planning as well as fundraising efforts are expected to be based on this plan and the activities it outlines. Local NGO Peshsaf and GAHP will strive to disseminate information, seek additional funding for the implementation of this plan in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan. We are confident that the adoption of this plan will become an effective tool in its path to free Tajikistan from toxic pollutants.