POPs are highly stable compounds that circulate globally through a repeated process of evaporation and deposit, and are transported through the atmosphere and the oceans to regions far away from their original source. They accumulate in the tissue of living organisms, which absorb POPs through food, water, and air. The effects of POPs exposure include birth defects, cancers, and dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems. POPs are also a threat to biodiversity, and even have the potential to cause disruption at the ecosystem level.
Belarus joined the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in 2004, thereby recognizing the existence of an insoluble problem before it. In the second half of the XX century, when it was "fashionable" to increase the yields with the help of the achievements of the chemical industry, more than 20,000 tons of pesticides were spread into the Belarusian fields. Having a stable structure, these carbon-containing chemical compounds and mixtures are able to accumulate, not decomposing for years, in the soil and even in living organisms. However, POPs do not lose biological activity and spread far beyond the zones of application. They are also the main pollutant of surface and groundwater.
The GEF Small Grants Program aims to help Belarus eliminate existing POP stocks and stop their further distribution, guided by the National Action Plan.
The project activity on persistent organic pollutants will be concentrated in the following areas:
informing and educating the local community in the implementation of the provisions of the POPs Convention;
involvement of public organizations and local communities in demonstration projects aimed at reducing and / or safely storing stocks of persistent organic pollutants, including unsuitable pesticides;
organization and conduct of studies and workshops on effective management of POPs at the local, regional and national levels; about sources and volumes of emissions; on the impact of harmful substances on public health, on socio-economic development; environmental impacts, their overcoming and alternatives to POPs;
identification of sources of harmful substances, their monitoring and decision-making on the elimination of POPs with all stakeholders;
stimulating the development of organic farming without the use of pesticides;
reduction, reuse and recycling of medical, municipal and industrial wastes containing persistent organic pollutants;
demonstration of public approaches and best practices for the elimination of POPs, for example, the production of alternative products, etc.
SGP POPs Focal Area Strategic Guidance Paper (download pdf in English) or (download pdf in Spanish)
Joint Communiqué on IPEN and SGP Partnership (download pdf in English)
Also visit the Persistent Organic Pollutants resources page on the GEF website.