Community Action

Global Impact

Chemicals / Persistent Organic Pollutants - POPs

The GEF-5 strategy for chemicals sets to consolidate the persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and ozone layer depletion focal areas, as well as to broaden the scope of GEF's engagement with the sound management of chemicals and to initiate work on mercury. The goal of the GEF's chemicals focal area is: to promote the sound management of chemicals throughout their life-cycle in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the global environment

Project Types and Priority Issues

SGP chemicals portfolio has gained considerable experiences in the following types of activities (examples and good cases on the following types of activities can be found at SGP POPs Training Module):

  • Promote environmentally friendly waste management to avoid open burning of waste to avoid unintentional releases of POPs;
  • Identify, manage and dispose obsolete community pesticide stockpiles;
  • Promote organic and sustainable agriculture to avoid illegal community uses of POPs pesticides and reduce land degradation;
  • Elimination, handling and environmentally sound disposal of PCB
  • Improve communities' awareness and understanding of POPs toxicity and impact on human and ecological health;
  • Develop civil society organizations (CSOs) and communities capacity addressing POPs

In GEF-5, SGP will pilot activities on chemicals and heavy metals as well as chemicals in products with direct and visible impact and relevance to community life. DDT alternatives to control malaria, e-waste, mercury use and exposure in small scale gold mining, lead in paint, and chemicals in products are appropriate areas where SGP can make a tangible impact on.

DDT. DDT is still legally and widely used in some 17 countries for malaria vector control. SGP should pilot activities to:

  • develop and pilot alternatives to DDT in malaria vector control
  • consolidate and disseminate local and traditional experiences and knowledge in malaria vector control
  • Raise awareness on the toxicity of DDT

E-waste. E-waste is one of the fastest growing segments of waste streams in Asia and the Pacific as well as in other parts of the world. For example, approximately 4 million personal computers (PCs) are discarded every year in China alone. E-waste valued at $1.5 billion was generated in India in 2006. SGP can undertake the following activities:

  • define the problem of E-waste at the community level
  • identify and raise awareness regarding toxic constituents in end-of-life electric and electronic equipment
  • develop pilot projects on successful collection schemes
  • develop infrastructure to be able locally to recycle such used and end-of-life equipment.

Mercury. SGP can demonstrate mercury reduction activities through:

  • reducing mercury use and exposure in Artisanal and Small- scale Gold Mining (ASGM)
  • increase local awareness and
  • develop alternative methods to gold mining without mercury
  • enhance capacity for safe storage
  • reduce atmospheric emissions of mercury; and manage contaminated community sites

Lead in paint. Lead is a heavy metal with known impacts on health, especially on children's health. Paints are sold with added lead in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. SGP could pilot the following activities:

  • support awareness raising on the toxicity of lead and on alternatives
  • identify potential lead exposure
  • reduce exposure to lead in paint
  • in collaboration with businesses, pilot alternatives to lead in paint

Chemicals in products. Knowledge and information are fundamental to the sound management of chemicals. Chemicals are widely used in products, and some chemicals are harmful and toxic in products where communities have no knowledge about. SGP can pilot activities to identify harmful chemicals in products at the communities, raise awareness regarding the toxicity, and develop alternatives or provide solutions to handle these products.