In Lviv region 145 storehouses contain about 800 tons of unsuitable for usage pesticides.
This poisonous heritage consists of prohibited and unsuitable for usage pesticides which are still lying about in abandoned storehouses in places where our children play and grains for our bread grow. In order to learn when, how and for what money Lviv region will be relieved from this poison, the project “Utilization of toxic pesticides on the territory of Lviv oblast in the basins of transboundary rivers Syan and Western Buh” was for one day joined by “Ratusha” newspaper.
Prohibited and unsuitable for usage pesticides are highly toxic substances, which have pernicious influence on a human organism. Some of them are carcinogen (cause cancer), others are mutagenic (can harm not only the person who has direct contact with pesticides but also his/her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren). But people are too flippant about this poison, maybe because consequences of its pernicious influence are not immediately noticeable.
“At present according to the Program of Neighbourhood Poland-Belorus-Ukraine which foresees repacking and utilization of unsuitable pesticides in Lviv region in the basins of transboundary rivers Syan and Western Buh, it was planned to fill into barrels and utilize about 100 tons of unsuitable and prohibited pesticides. We received this poison as heritage after the Soviet epoch. Utilization and repacking will be done at the expenses of the European Commission, and partly it will be financed from the oblast budget.
Of course, there isn’t enough money to utilize all pesticides stored on the territory of our oblast. Therefore, we will work with those which are stored in the worst conditions and located most closely to the transboundary rivers Syan and Western Buh or their tributaries” says executive director of International Public Interest Law Organization “Environment-People- Law” Serhiy Lozan who jointly with representatives of State Administration of Environmental Protection in Lviv oblast and State Environmental Inspection works on the program of utilization of unsuitable pesticides located in the basins of the rivers Syan and Western Buh. As he says, Europeans finance freeing Ukraine of pesticides in our region because the poison poses a serious threat not only for Ukraine but also for countries of the European Union, primarily Poland because of the chance that hazardous pesticides can get into soil and underground waters. The risk of the poisoning of transboundary rivers Syan and Western Buh is also very high.
The program overall consists of several phases. “Our priority is to identify storehouses with unsuitable poisoning chemicals and then their utilization, – says the project coordinator, state inspector for environmental protection Alla Voytsihovska. – We go to the places where they are temporarily stores, meet with leadership of the entities on whose balance these chemicals are, examine their state, record “additional factors”, for example, how far the storehouse is situated from the nearest pond or water inlet, schools, working premises, houses, agricultural fields. Also we determine their exact position data in order to put their locations on the digital map.”
“Pesticides are extremely toxic substances. Sometimes very pungent poisonous smell around the storehouse with unsuitable poisoning chemicals can be smelt dozens of meters away. You’d better not approach the storehouse – it can be harmful” – instructs Serhiy as soon as we get into the car which takes us to Yavoriv rayon where inventory should be made. I have heard many times before that stale and prohibited poisoning chemicals are stored in “unadapted storehouses’. But when I saw myself the places where unsuitable poisoning chemicals were stored, I was deeply shocked. There immediately arose a question: “Who and when dared to call this a storehouse, even though unadapted?” The poison lies in dilapidated premises without windows and doors, sometimes it is not even put into sacks – it is just a pile on the rotten floor. You can feel pungent smell of pesticides from dozens of meters away. The roof is leaking. Not far from here cows are grazing grass, potatoes and wheat are growing. “Guys, please take this poison away from here because it stinks” – ask us local residents. By-river area where formally the “storehouse” but in fact a hut without windows and doors with piled pesticides is situated 50 meters from the working premises. There is no more than 300 meters from the storehouse to the school. Sometimes children come here to play. It is practically impossible to explain them the danger of playing here because sometimes even adults don’t understand what they are dealing with.
We travel from village to village and examine “estates”. Everywhere we find the same broken windows and doors, the same ruined ceilings, pungent stink with minor variations – sometimes “storehouses” are located next to working premises or people’s houses, sometimes – in the middle of a filed, sometimes pungent stink of the poison is mixed with smell of bird cherry tree, conifers… In total among more than ten storehouses which we examined only one could be called reliable – pesticides were put into an old storage for fuel and lubricating materials and in order to limit access to the poison, it was coated with concrete. In general only such methods can be sufficient in order to stop “wildness” of vandals who constantly visit storehouses, destroy them and loot these “treasures” – the poisons which are harmful for everybody around and first of all for them.
“I don’t know what can be done about it – for the last three weeks the storehouse with pesticides was “raided” for the second time”, complains director of “Peremoha 2” Ltd Nazar Fedir. He has on his balance 1,300 kg of hard chemicals and 200 kg of liquid unsuitable poisoning chemicals. One problem is that the barrel with liquid pesticides is rusted and 200 kg of liquid pesticides can any moment pour on the floor. In addition to this somebody regularly breaks into the storehouse, breaks windows and doors, sometimes steals pesticides … And all this is happening almost on the customs “Lviv-Krakovets”.
“People’s stupidity is unlimited – says director of “Peremoha 2” Ltd. – Once some drunkards, who are ready to do anything for a bottle of vodka, broke into the storehouse. They sold the poisons to their fellow-villagers saying that this is a good thing against pests. As a result everything on the field got burned. The culprits haven’t been punished for that.”
Mr. Nazar regularly spends his own money, nerves and efforts on making the storehouses inherited by him after “kolhosp” more or less safe – he himself hammers with planks windows and doors. But his work is destroyed again and again. The law machinery is not very active in trying to catch the vandals who risk their own lives and create threat for others.
Nataliya Horban’, “Ratusha” newspaper