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Daily News Archive
From April 23, 2001

Outdated Pesticides Contaminating Ethiopia

According to the Daily Grist, on April 20, 2001, government officials from Ethiopia reported that about 3,000 tons of obsolete pesticides stored at almost 1,000 sites around the country are contaminating the environment and threatening public health.

For example, at one location in Addis Ababa, overturned metal drums leaking toxic waste
are just 500 yards from a grain silo of the Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise. A strong smell of chemicals pervades the site, where men without protective clothing are guarding the drums.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reports that Ethiopia is the hardest-hit country in Africa by the build-up of obsolete pesticides. The organization's Rome-based expert on the problem, Alemayehu Wodageneh, believes that hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians could be at risk. Mr. Wodageneh, said, "People are living in a toilet of toxic waste."

The clean-up effort, which will be funded by donations from the U.S., Dutch and Swedish governments, will collect the waste and ship it to Finland to be incinerated. According to FAO data, suppliers of pesticides to Ethiopia included AgrEvo, U.S. biotech group Monsanto, Novartis, Shell, Zeneca, Bayer and Dow Agro Sciences, reported Reuters newswire.