The NATO programme director Emeritus Professor Freddy Adams from the University of Antwerpen, Belgium, was awarded the medal "For Strengthening Brotherhood of Arms" in a ceremony held at the Ministry of Defense in Chisinau.
Colonel Dominic, Interim Chief of General Staff of the National Army, thanked the foreign partners for their efforts in building capabilities for the analysis of pesticides in Moldova, which had a positive impact on the environment and the health of the population.
Entitled “Disposal of pesticides and dangerous chemicals in Moldova” , the project addresses the threat of the hazardous chemicals which had been scattered throughout 33 districts in Moldova, either in storage or buried in the ground. These mostly illegal stockpiles and dumps, especially those containing persistent organic pollutants (POPs), have posed a high health and environmental risks.
During the first phase of this project, 3,245 tons of obsolete pesticides and other dangerous chemicals that were remaining in Moldova were repacked and moved to central storage sites, awaiting their destruction. The first phase was completed April 2008.
The second phase, the analysis of the pesticides, started in 2005 and run in parallel. A NATO-funded laboratory was established for this purpose, and local personnel were trained in standard sampling, analysis and data management techniques. By the end of November 2009, more than 5,980 samples from 2 municipalities, 32 districts and Territorial Autonomy Gagauzia had been analyzed.
The project employs specialized personnel from the Ministry of Defense for sampling and general project management and specialists in pesticide chemistry and toxicology of the Ministry of Agriculture. In addition, the State University of Moldova participates with specialists in analytical chemistry and young scientists that obtain a research specialization in the project.
The analytical results created by the laboratory were used for the destruction of 1,296 tons in 2006/2007 that was carried out with the support of the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The database of the chemicals’ composition and toxicological evaluation was used to determine disposal methods, temperature, flow rate of petrol, pressure, filters, and other factors.
The laboratory was also equipped with sophisticated equipment to test agricultural products for contamination, in order to enhance food security in the country. In October 2007, Russia and Belarus recommenced importation of Moldovan wine. Today, more than 735 samples of wine from 35 companies were certified by the lab to be pesticide-free.
The Republic of Moldova is pledging for help under the NATO PfP Trust Funds for the destruction of the remaining 2000 tons of pesticides.