Decreasing POPs Through Management of Empty Pesticide Containers in the Republic of Mauritius
Decreasing POPs Through Management of Empty Pesticide Containers in the Republic of Mauritius
Project Summary

CropLife (Mauritius) which is a member of CropLife International, more specifically of CropLife Africa Middle East (CLAME), was created in 2005 and is a registered association of pesticide dealers and distributors. It is an NGO; the principal source of funding being annual membership fees and training fees.

One of the objectives of CropLife Mauritius is pesticide product stewardship, comprising of education and training programmes for pesticides users and handlers; the safe disposal of used empty containers being a major thrust. Pesticides are hazardous and require sound knowledge on their properties, safe use and proper disposal to avoid health hazards and environmental pollution. CropLife Mauritius warns and creates awareness about dangers and malpractices; CropLife Mauritius Training Services, which is MQA Registered, provides training on improving knowledge on chemicals, safe-use, safe-handling, safe-disposal of empty containers and on ‘best practices’ based on worldwide experience.

Stewardship is a life cycle approach to product management. It is the ethical way to manage crop protection products from their discovery and development, to their use and final disposal or phase-out. The overall aim of the stewardship approach is to maximise the benefits, and minimise any risk, from using crop protection products by the farmers.


Source: http://www.croplife.org/crop_protection_stewardship

Stewardship of crop protection products can be broken down into the seven above mentioned interrelated elements: Research & Development; Manufacture of Products, Storage, Transportation & Distribution; Integrated Pest Management (IPM); Responsible Use; Container Management and Management and Disposal of Obsolete Stocks. CropLife Mauritius is committed towards the promotion of effective stewardship and believes that the appropriate management and use of chemical products help underpin sustainable agriculture and safeguard the environment and public health. Presently, CropLife Mauritius is dealing with two of the above 7 elements, namely Responsible Use (of pesticides) and Container Management. Three other elements, i.e. Storage, Transportation & Distribution, Management & Disposal of Obsolete Stocks and principally Integrated Pest Management will be tackled in a very near future.

The use and appropriate disposal through recycling of crop protection containers has to be managed sustainably to protect both farmer’s health and the environment. The goals of the Container Management Programme include protecting both the environment and the farmer from exposure, appropriate treatment and safe disposal of used packaging, reducing waste and maximising recycling. It comprise of Triple rinsing of empty containers which is the recommended method promoted by the global CropLife network. Triple rinsing containers with water can remove 99.99% or more of product residue; triple rinsing also allows farmers to save money as the residue is returned back to the sprayer used for spraying. Similar results can be achieved with integrated pressure rinsing using specialized equipment incorporated in some modern spray application equipment. This is however not available in Mauritius. Tripled rinsed containers are then collected and sent for recycling.

The Container Management Project is an ongoing project within CropLife Mauritius. A similar project, funded by the GEF SGP in 2007, was implemented by the Association Professionnelle des Producteurs/Exportateurs de Produits Horticoles de Maurice (APEXHOM). A dozen cages for collection of used pesticide containers were placed at various locations, at Medine, Labourdonnais, Farmers Service Centres, Agricultural Research & Extension Unit, etc. Of the lessons learnt from the project the main ones were that there were no recycling possibility for the containers in the country at that time, some of the cages were used as garbage bins in which all sort of waste materials were thrown. After some time local recyclers emerged but sometimes the recycler refused to collect used containers as there was no guarantee that the containers have been properly triple rinsed. Also, after some time, there was a lack of participation of the farmers.

When CropLife Mauritius took over the Container Management Project in 2011, the first action was to conduct a survey to assess the current situation of used containers in Mauritius, to determine the willingness of stakeholders to participate in a Container Management Programme and to determine the feasibility of such a programme. Regarding the disposal of empty used containers, it was found that vegetable growers either throw them in garbage bin or dump them in the field, causing leakages in waterways. The large sugar cane growers would incinerate the used containers, creating persistent organic pollutants or dump them in the fields or else keep them in a store. The best disposal method was found to be recycling. The main risks to the implementation of a Container Management Programme would be the lack of cooperation of farmers and also lack of coordination among various Institutions involved.

As the first step in the Container Management Programme is the Triple-rinsing of empty pesticide containers, as from June 2013, posters on Triple-rinse were affixed at strategic locations including point of sale of pesticides, AREU Model farms & Demonstration Centres, etc. Numerous training sessions on Triple-rinsing were conducted with sprayer men in various regions of the island.

A series of meeting was conducted between members of the Container Management Subcommittee of CropLife Mauritius and various Institutions, such as the Ministry of Health & Quality of Life (via the Dangerous Chemical Control Board) and the Ministry of Agro-Industry & Food Security (via Agricultural Research & Extension Unit) to ensure their collaboration and active participation in the Container Management Project. Meetings were also held with representatives of small farmers, corporate planters, farmers associations, importers and distributers of pesticides. In 2013 members of CropLife Mauritius also participated in policy dialogue meetings regarding management of empty pesticide containers, especially through the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) project, under the aegis if the Ministry of health and Quality of Life.

To ensure that the used containers are collected and recycled, meetings were held with the Recyclers, such as Power Plastics Ltd and General Refuse Enterprise for Environmental Needs Ltd (GREEN). This has led to the establishment of a solid and sustainable system of collection & recycling whereby used containers deposited in collecting cages located at strategic places locations would be regularly collected and sent for recycling. Currently there is no collection by the recyclers as just one cage for collection (obtained from the recycler) is available, and farmers have not yet been trained to commence the container management project in that location.

Presently, the Container Management Project of CropLife Mauritius is at a standstill due to a lack of funds to continue the actions initiated in 2013.

According to a recent United Nations Report, the current world population of 7.2 billion is projected to increase by 1 billion over the next 12 years and reach 9.6 billion by 2050 (http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45165#.U1Ae_XK_nIU) with growing needs for food, feed, fibre and fuel. The projections show that feeding the world population in 2050 would require raising overall food production by some 70 percent. Annual cereal production, for instance, would have to grow by almost one billion tonnes, meat production by over 200 million tonnes to a total of 470 million tonnes in 2050 (http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/wsfs/docs/Issues_papers/HLEF2050_Global_Agriculture.pdf). The challenges to feed and cater for the needs of the growing population are tremendous, ranging from climate change to changes in population demands. The solution would reside on systems of intensive agriculture, an essential pillar of which is the use of pest control products.

In 2012, about 2000 t of pesticides (including various herbicides, insecticides and fungicides) and 53700 t of fertilizers were used in Mauritian agriculture (http://statsmauritius.gov.mu/English/StatsbySubj/Documents/Digest%20of%20Agriculture%202012_vetted.pdf). The sugar cane industry, occupying some 57000 hectares of land uses most of the herbicides, but none of the insecticides & fungicides, which are used on the 7 500 hectares under food crops by the 12 000 small farmers, scattered all over the island, and cultivating plot of lands varying from 0.5 to 2.0 hectares. Pesticides often come in containers of 0.5L to 25L. It is estimated that about 200,000 containers are used and disposed of by farmers annually. Once used, containers are either burnt, creating toxic fumes (Persistent Organic Pollutants, POPs), left in the field or stored.

The Industry is aware of the health and environment hazards resulting from the misuse of agrochemicals. CropLife Mauritius members being one of the stakeholders of the industry are fully conscious of the ‘product life cycle’ and the place container management has in this life cycle. Types of containers for pesticides include among others, HDPE (High density polyethylene), HDPE-COEX, PET (Polyethylene terephthalate), pouches and plastic bags. There are various ways of disposing empty containers, depending on the materials used to manufacture them. However, the best option for disposal of used plastic containers is recycling into poles, bins, etc. This is only possible if containers are properly rinsed, collected and transported to a recycler.

The benefits of Container Management Programme are numerous to both pesticide handlers and the environment, e.g. protection of the operator and the environment from unnecessary exposure; safe disposal of used packaging, reduction of waste and maximisation of recycling, resource conservation impacts such as energy savings, savings in landfill spaces and reduction of carbon emissions. Leakage of harmful chemicals from empty pesticide containers left in the fields may pollute the soil and contaminate water sources with dramatic effects on both human health and the environment.

To date, there is no formal and well defined system established for the collection and disposal of empty pesticide containers. The farmer has no place to safely dispose of his empty pesticide containers. The main objective of the Container Management Programme is to establish a solid and sustainable collection and disposal system, through recycling, of empty triple-rinsed containers. Some 1000 farmers located in 4 distinct agricultural zones of the island (Belle Mare, La Chaumiere, Camp de Masque & in the North at d’Epinay will be targeted. These farmers have been selected as a pilot demonstration as they are already involved in Fair Trade practices. We believe that they will more readily participate in the project as effective pesticide management is part of Fair Trade practices.

The project involves 3 major steps: Training of farmers; Collection of used containers and Disposal of containers through recycling. There will be 6 main activities:

Activity No 1: Foster and maintain coordination amongst institutions and all stakeholders through various meetings; this will ensure the involvement of all parties concerned and the sustainability of the project.
Activity No 2: Training. Continuous training of farmers is important.
Activity No 3: Construction of cages for collection, their placement at strategic locations under the supervision of the Ministry of Local Government and their management.
Activity No 4: Collection and transportation of used plastic containers to recycling plant. Activity No 5: Sensitisation & Farmer’s awareness through meetings & demonstration activities with planters and newsletters to both farmers participating in the pilot project and also to those not participating, but are located in the vicinity of the pilot project.
Activity No 6: Project monitoring, reporting & sound management of funds.

Community involvement will be based on the ‘Ownership of Project Policy’, i.e. the farmers themselves will be ‘owners’ of the project region wise. Leaders will be chosen amongst farmers to lead the project in various regions. Also regular meetings with groups of farmers will keep them informed of the progress of the project and will keep the project going. Efforts will be geared towards Project Recognition & Ownership by the farmers themselves. A sign board will be devised with the help of the farmers during the project implementation and displayed in the field of those farmers who would successfully adopt the Container Management Project.

The main objective of the Maurice Ile Durable Concept is to make Mauritius a world model of sustainable development. Following this concern and adhering to the Environment Protection Act 2002 as well as the Local Government Act 2011, proper disposal through recycling of triple rinsed empty plastic pesticide containers is just one, but an important step towards a sustainable agriculture and cleaner Republic of Mauritius. It is expected by the end of this Project, some 20000 empty pesticide containers will have been collected and that 1000 farmers, both male and female, will be trained and be participating fully in the Container Management Project.

Support from the Ministry of Local Government has been sought and obtained for the location of the cages..

1.2 Organizational Background and Capacity to implement the project

CropLife Mauritius was created in 2005. It is a registered association of pesticide dealers and distributors. A major objective of the association is pesticide product stewardship, which comprise education and training programmes for all those handling or using pesticides in their daily work. The safe disposal of empty used containers (Container Management) is a major thrust. CropLife Mauritius has already carried out 3 Training of Trainers (ToT’s) and so far has trained 37 trainers, including professionals involved with agrochemicals from major institutions such as the Mauritius Sugarcane Industry Research Institute (MSIRI), Farmer’s Service Centre (FSC), APEXHOM, Ministry of Agro-Industry & Food Security, including Rodrigues (Agricultural Research & Extension Unit), Ministry of Health & Quality of Life (Dangerous Chemical Control Board) and pesticide importing companies. Members of CropLife Mauritius and the farming community at large benefit from training programmes by the CropLife Training Services, which is registered with MQA on ‘best practices’ based on worldwide experience.

All CropLife Mauritius members adhere to a code of conduct, based on the FAO/WHO code of conduct. The code of conduct, amongst other, stipulates that members should operate within the framework of national legislation, establishes voluntary standards of conducts for members, promotes safe handling and effective use of pesticides, provides guideline to members on packaging, labelling and distribution, promotes IPM, encourage product quality and standards for end-user and consumer safety and promotes fair marketing and distribution practices. The role of the Association is also to participate fully in policy dialogue meetings on issues relating to chemicals, especially pesticides and to exchange views with the National Regulatory bodies.

CropLife Mauritius advocates the use of crop protection products only when needed; to seek advice from reliable sources to make the correct choice; to buy only the amount needed; to avoid surplus stocks; to keep dangerous chemicals under lock and key and away from untrained people and that dangerous chemicals are a threat to the environment and dangerous to health.

Capacity to implement the project

The Container Management Subcommittee of CropLife Mauritius is composed of very capable individuals such as Messrs Philippe Le Vieux, of Universal Development Corporation, Dani Joseph & Stephanie Pacifique of COROI Maurice Ltee, Clifford Dove & Arvind Ramlowat of Roger Fayd’herbe, Sebastien Koenig of BlyChem Ltd and Dineshing Goburdhun & Sachin Sookna of Mauritius Co-Orperative Agricultural Federation Ltd (MCAF). These people have the capacity to bring to port any project. Mr Mukesh Rughoo, the Project Manager, who is also the Executive Secretary of CropLife Mauritius has had more than 34 years experience in active research of crops of strategic importance such as sugar cane, potato, tomato, maize, pulses, onion, garlic, wheat, rice and other crops. He was employed, till recently, as Research Manager and Head of the Food Crop Agronomy Department of the Mauritius Sugarcane Industry Research Institute of the Mauritius Cane Industry Authority.

1.3 Project Objectives and Expected Results

The overall objectives are the decrease of POPs, the protection of the farmer and the environment from the ill-effects of pesticides; the safe disposal of used containers, the reduction of waste and the maximization of recycling. The specific objectives include the collection and proper disposal of used pesticides containers after being made safe for recycling, while at the same time, protecting both the Operator & the Environment.

The direct benefits of Container Management Programme are numerous to both the farmer and the environment, e.g. protection from unnecessary exposure to POPs and other chemicals, safe disposal of used packaging, reduction of waste and maximisation of recycling, resource conservation impacts such as savings in landfill spaces (less used containers to finish up in the various landfills) and reduction of carbon emissions.

Indirect benefits include reduced human health hazard from exposure to POPs and pesticides, lesser negative impact on health generally and reduced contamination of water ways, rivers & underground water. The latter is possible as all chemicals are used on crops and there are no residues in the containers that may leak into the ground.

It is expected that by 2016, 1000 farmers in Mauritius are actively participating in the Container Management Project and that all their used empty containers are properly disposed of through recycling.

The project will consist of the setting up of 4 pilot projects in 4 regions of the island. Two pilot projects will be established with farmers involved in the Fair Trade Association at the East (tentatively, at Camp de Masque) and in the North (tentatively at d’Epinay). However, the exact locations will be chosen after discussion with representatives of Fair Trade Organisations. The other 2 will be located in regions where there is a high concentration of farmers with identical farming activities, e.g. onion growing regions of Belle Mare and La Chaumiere. In all some 1000 farmers will be directly and another 3000, indirectly involved. The latter will be made aware of the progress of the container management project via newsletters and hence will be more apt to participate in the project when carried out on a national level. Lessons learnt from these pilot projects will lead, at the end of this project, to the establishment of a road map for effective and sustainable collection and recycling of all used pesticide containers in Mauritius which could also be extended to Rodrigues.

 
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Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Croplife (Mauritius)
Country:
Mauritius
Area Of Work:
International Waters
Chemicals
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 12,205.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 60,333.00
Project Number:
MAR/SGP/OP5/YR3/CORE/CH/14/10
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Notable Community Participation
Community involvement will be based on the ‘Ownership of Project Policy’, i.e. the farmers themselves will be ‘owners’ of the project region wise. Leaders will be chosen amongst farmers to lead the project in various target zones. These ‘Leaders’ will be invited to participate in meeting with other stakeholders, such as the Recyclers, etc. Regular meeting will be carried out will all farmers to inform them of the progress of the project and to keep the ‘interest’ going.
Gender Focus
This project is targeting the small farmers in Mauritius who are both men and women farmers growing crops on farms less than one hectare in size. The Container Management Project will target both men and women alike. Women are more concerned about the health of the family and the safeguard of the environment; they will quickly realise the benefits of safe disposal of used containers and will play an active part on this project. It is expected that women be the leaders in this project and serve as role models to their male counterparts.
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Indicators
Empowerment
Number of women participated / involved in SGP project 255

Partnership

Ministry of Housing & Lands, AREU, Power Plastics

Grantee Contact

Mr Clifford Dove
 

Address

C/O Roger Fayd'Herbe & Co Ltd
Industrial Zone, Plaine Lauzun ,

SGP Country office contact

Mrs. Pamela Bapoo-Dundoo
Phone:
(230) 213 53 84
Fax:
(230) 212 14 11
Email:

Address

2nd Floor, Sugar Industry Pension Fund Building, 1 Remy Ollier Street
Port Louis, Mauritius

Country Website