The Government of Vietnam has faced serious constraints in dealing with stockpiles of POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) pesticides, including constraints due to funding, access to appropriate technologies, and coordination among multiple ministries and agencies. While some stockpiles are housed in sheds or other buildings, in some communities with particularly large stockpiles, the lack of suitable infrastructure resulted in the burial of POPs pesticides stockpiles. An estimated 1,140 tonnes of POPs pesticides have been located in five such sites, and it is certain that there are more such sites in the country. The buried stockpiles are of far greater concern than above-ground stockpiles both because of their size and because there is far less control over storage conditions, resulting in much larger potential and actual human health problems.
This project was aimed to eliminate all known stockpiles of POPs pesticides in Vietnam. However, the destruction of known stockpiles is an incomplete response for two reasons. First, it is clear that there are a potentially large number of additional, as yet unknown stockpiles, meaning that a one-off destruction process will be inadequate in dealing with additional stockpiles as they are discovered. Second, there is a major continuing problem of illegal importation of pesticides which may contain substantial amounts of POPs. Consequently, as important as the destruction of known stockpiles, is the need to build capacity both to destroy additional stockpiles as they are discovered, and to eliminate continued importation of illegal POPs pesticides.
Capacity to eliminate continued importation is needed on both the demand side, to reduce and ultimately eliminate demand for such pesticides, and on the supply side, to eliminate the source of the pesticides. Supply-side management requires bilateral cooperation with neighbouring states, China, Lao PDR and Cambodia. FAO and UNDP are joint GEF Agencies assisting Vietnam in the implementation of this project.