Toxic industrial waste is threatening the health of people in many countries of the world. Central asian countries suffer from the toxic legacies of the industrial development of the former Soviet Union.

FSD is reducing the threat of toxic waste by performing the following activities:

  • Sealing off and marking contaminated unmarked industrial waste sites by means of fences or walls and by placing danger signs. This avoid that people and animals inadvertently straying into dangerous sites.
  • Informing the population concerned about the potential dangers, and how to adapt the individual behaviour to reduce the risk of contamination.
  • Providing socio-medical assistance in the vicinity of the toxic sites.
  • Relocating people living on toxic waste dumps (only in agreement with all concerned).
  • Performing scientific Environment Impact Assessments and Feasibility Studies for the remediation of the sites.
  • Physically remediating the sites. This may involve the excavation and safe destruction of buried chemicals, the covering of radio-active and toxic mining tailings materials, installing long-term monitoring systems for the ground-water and similar measures.

In Kyrgyzstan, FSD has performed an Environmental Impact Assessment of an abandoned lead and zinc mine in Sumsar. The results showed that the toxic dust from the legacy tailing piles are of concern and potentially hazardous to the local population.  Further reading:

In Tajikistan, FSD has isolated the Uranium tailings heaps "Karta 1-9" in Buston (formerly Chkalovsk) by means of a high and 1'800 m long concrete wall to avoid people and animals straying into the site. Following this, in 2017-2018 an Environmental Impact Assessment and a Feasibility Study was completed in support of wider regional initiatives through coordination with the European Union, IAEA and the coordination group for legacy uranium tailing sites (CGULS).

FSD first started working within the obsolete pesticides arena in Tajikistan carrying out a project in Village #1, Kumsangir, which is one of the areas contaminated by old pesticides in Central Asia, where people were actually living right inside/on top of a former pesticide dump using remains of a former pesticide storage facility as contaminated construction materials for their housing and livelihoods. It is estimated that this site had approximately 2’000 cubic meters (3’600 tons) of contaminated soil and 2’175 cubic meters (4’300 tons) of buried and dispersed old pesticides bags, mainly of DDT.  Analysis of samples, taken from plastering materials, showed an excess of maximal permissible concentration of DDT by 14 times, Endosulfan 11 times and Dieldrin 3 times.  A medical intervention conducted by FSD in Village #1 also observed that out of 2’319 people, approximately 340 of them had different chronic diseases, there were 21 children under 14 years among the 340 sick people.

FSD executed a community project in Village #1 which moved those living on top of the dump to a new location in the town and built new houses for them to re-locate to.  This was the first phase of a much wider physical remediation project undertaken by FSD in 2017-18 in Kumsangir, Oykamar and Kanibadam and the central Vakhsh polygon dumping site.

In Oykamar from 2018 to 2019, FSD conducted site characterisation and environmental impact assessments which led to the remediation of over 400 tonnes of contaminated soil and removal to the Vakhsh polygon.  From 2020 to 2025, FSD will engage with a larger UNEP programme in the region to provide more remediation of contaminated land and to work on a pilot study into physical thermal disposal technologies to process contaminated soil waste at the Vakhsh polygon site.

Visit of an irradiated building in Ukraine

Toxic mining waste: Visit of Terek-Say in Kyrgyzstan

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