Tajik Environmental Protection Committee
OSCE Office in Tajikistan
The Settlement of Saidov in Jami district is located about 80 km southeast of Dushanbe, Tajikistan. There are several places in Jami and near that are contaminated with obsolete pesticides. The most contaminated site (Saidov) was selected for cleanup. The location was a former pesticide storage that was turned into private property. Despite being heavily contaminated with obsolete pesticides the area was used for construction of houses. People who moved in to this area complained about health issues. By the time the project started 8 families lived there. More were expected to move in.
The main contaminants at the site were: Lindane (Hexachlorocyclohaxane), DDT, and Heptachlor. The warehouse was destroyed in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the soil at the site was contaminated.
In early May of 2017 the remediation team excavated the pesticide storage site and found an extreme health hazard for the population – approximately 300 kg of pesticides from the POP family (persistent organic pollutant).
This large amount of toxic material greatly surprised the local population, who had lived here for many years and thought there was nothing dangerous on the territory.
As a result of this cleanup project, the remediation team removed up to 75-80 cubic meters of polluted soil that included roughly about 700 kg of pesticides. The contaminated soil was repackaged and transported to the Vakhsh storage for obsolete pesticides.
The project caused the local government to look into such issues in detail. Now the officials are working on public policies to prevent residential building on contaminated lands.
The project is a good example of cooperation of several organizations and different levels of the government. This experience provides a good model for future similar work in Tajikistan.