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Tajikistan

In Tajikistan, FSD acts on two levels: destruction of stockpiles of obsolete weapons and ammunition and the remediation of areas contaminated with toxic pollutants.

In-order-to-prevent-obsolete-weapons-and-ammunition-from-falling-into-the-wrong-hands,-FSD-is-mandated-to-destroy-these-devices-safely-(Tajikistan)

FSD staff moving obsolete ammunition to a safe location for their destruction by means of a controlled explosion (Tajikistan, 2020)

Context

In 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Tajikistan alongside with several former soviet states declared its independence. Numerous stockpiles of weapons and ammunition are then stored throughout the country. Today, a large part of these weapons remains in the country in poor stockpile conditions. They constitute a threat for the national and regional security posing the risk of an accidental explosion or the risk of potentially falling into the wrong hands. 

Tajikistan is also contaminated by other dangerous remnants of the Soviet era. In the 1950-60, pesticides were largely distributed in the country, almost for free, to increase the agricultural production. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, numerous stockpiles of pesticides were abandoned in the country.  

 

Since then, these obsolete pesticides, overall DDT, have started to infiltrate the environment and the food chain. The long term exposure to such organic persistent pollutants was correlated with a series of negative impacts on health, from effects on the nervous, immune reproductive and endocrine systems to various types of birth defects and cancers.

The Tajik government is aware of the risks these substances on health, on environment and on the economy, but currently lacks legal, financial and institutional resources to solve the issue. 

 

 

When it rains or snows, the soils turns yellow and the smell is unbearable.

Salmanjoon

Inhabitant of Oykamar, village contaminated by toxic pesticides

Salmanjoon - Inhabitant of Oykamar, village contaminated by toxic pesticides
Tajikistan

Environmental remediation

The project to clear soils contaminated by toxic pesticides remnants of the Soviet era began in 2016. One of the first actions was the relocation of several families living above pesticide dump. FSD then focused on removing and transporting the top layers of contaminated soil to a secure central storage site in Vakhsh, far from any homes and waterways. Clean soil was later transported to these villages.

In 2021, FSD began to work on a project funded by the United Nations Environment Programme to develop a technology that would permanently eliminate the problem of obsolete pesticides. The aim is to test the use of a supercritical water oxidation reactor to treat contaminated soils at very high temperature and pressure, without releasing dioxins or other toxic emissions into the atmosphere.

FSD excavator in Tajikistan
TAJIKISTAN

Weapons and ammunition disposal

For almost 20 years, FSD manages a project to eliminate obsolete stockpiles of small arms and ammunition dating from the Soviet era. According to their size, these obsolete weapons and ammunition are either incinerated or destroyed by means of a controlled explosion.

To date, more than 1.7 million weapons and ammunition have been destroyed by FSD in Tajikistan, as well as around 50 man-portable air defence systems (MANPADs).

Controlled explosion from an obsolete ammunition stock in Tajikistan.jpg

FSD in Tajikistan

FSD’s presence in Tajikistan dates back to 2003, with the implementation of a mine action program supported by the US Department of State.

In parallel, in 2009, FSD launched a stockpile disposal programme to promote national and regional security, also funded by the US.

In 2016, a third project was initiated by FSD: the remediation of areas contaminated by toxic pesticides, remnants of the Soviet era. A partnership was established with the United Nations Environment Programme to develop a clean and efficient remediation technology.

In 2018, demining operations in Tajikistan were suspended due to lack of funding.

CENTIMETRE after CENTIMETRE

In 2021, our deminers have cleared 8.5 km², an area equivalent to half of Geneva. This work requires constant concentration despite the sometimes extreme working conditions.

News from Tajikistan

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In Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, FSD is expanding its involvement in the remediation of soil contaminated by toxic pesticides. As part of this GEF-funded project, FSD is working […]

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Weapons and ammunition destruction

How do we destroy obsolete weapons and ammunition found in Tajikistan? :
➡️ Incineration, for small arms ammunition and pyrotechnics
➡️ Controlled explosion, for larger weapons […]

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Our humanitarian programmes focus on four main areas.

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FSD locates and clears mines and unexploded ordnance, provides explosive ordnance risk education and assists survivors of accidental explosions.

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FSD remediates sites contaminated by toxic pollutants inherited from the past and act to promote biodiversity and resilience to face climate change. 

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