A farmer sprays pesticide on a rice field (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – More than 900 tonnes of persistent organic pollutants (POP) in 12 contaminated sites have been destroyed over five years via a POP elimination project funded by the UNDP.

The project "Building Capacity to Eliminate POP Pesticide Stockpiles in Vietnam" was launched in 2010 by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) and the UNDP.

Some 5,000 cubic meters of contaminated soil from safe landfills was destroyed, reducing the risk of POP exposure amongst the 2,000 people living in the 12 contaminated zones.

Nguyen Van Tai, General Director of Vietnam Environment Administration, said at the closing workshop last week that the project had developed a new international-standard information technology integrated database to manage the contaminated areas and measure the POP elimination results, using a risk assessment method.

International experts have also written guidelines for managing these areas, with appropriate adaptations for conditions in Vietnam.

UNDP Deputy Country Director Bakhodir Burkhanov said the MONRE and UNDP would also initiate a new project collaboration on the proper management of harmful chemicals.

Before the 1990s, Vietnam had used various types of chemicals as pesticides for agricultural development.

Limited awareness and the lack of waste treatment technologies had led to poor storage without the adoption of appropriate safety measures, resulting in a high risk of leaks.

By 2010, Vietnam had more than 1,000 contaminated sites, of which, 300 were obsolete POP pesticide stockpiles.

It is reported that POPs can cause immediate fatal poisoning or cancer and can have a lasting effect on people's health.-VNA