Disposal of pesticides

Bulgaria and Switzerland successfully accomplished two waste management projects
Bulgarian-Swiss cooperation in waste management: beneficial to people and good for the nature

10 September 2020

Bulgaria and Switzerland have successfully accomplished two of the largest projects of the Bulgarian-Swiss Cooperation Programme aimed at improvement of the waste management in Bulgaria. They reached hundreds of municipalities and thousands of people and contributed to the environment and human health protection.

Recently, Switzerland formally approved the completion reports of the five-year projects “Environmentally friendly disposal of obsolete pesticides” and “Pilot models for environmentally friendly collection and temporary storage of hazardous household waste”. They were implemented by EMEPA, the Bulgarian Enterprise for Management of Environmental Protection Activities in the period April 2015 - December 2019.

“Environment & infrastructure” and “Nature & biodiversity protection” are key areas, in which Switzerland supports the efforts of Bulgaria as part of its contribution to the reduction of economic and social disparities in the enlarged European Union. Focused on waste, the projects have a substantial impact in two different, but equally important issues for Bulgaria: solving the long standing problem with obsolete pesticides and plant protection materials and piloting an efficient model for separate collection of hazardous waste from the households. Bulgarian municipalities are direct beneficiaries of the achievements of these projects.

Together, both projects represent to more than 1/3 of the total amount of CHF 76 million committed under the Bulgarian-Swiss Cooperation Programme. Besides the financial side, the human dimension of the two projects is even higher, with reaching to more than 2 million people in nearly 70 municipalities throughout the country, who now live in a better and cleaner environment.

“Environmentally sound disposal of obsolete pesticides and other crop protection products” 21.4.2015 – 7.12.2019:  

  • Back in 2013, a feasibility study suggested for cleaning 215 priority warehouses across the country storing approximately 4’400 tons of obsolete pesticides and other plant protection products remaining after the cooperatives from before the 90s.
  • 3’782 tons (more than 85% of the planned quantities) of pesticides and other hazardous products were safely repacked, transported and incinerated in licensed facilities in Switzerland, France, Germany and other EU countries. Due to the higher quantities of pesticides discovered, 67 warehouses (31 %) of all 215 initially targeted by the project were cleaned up in compliance with the high quality standards and requirements set by the project.
  • More than 1’6 million people in 50 Bulgarian municipalities benefit from a healthier environment while opportunities for economic growth in this areas have increased.
  • The Bulgarian authorities stand by their commitment to continue the disposal of the remaining waste after the project’s completion: an experts’ estimate suggests that approximately 3’588 tons of obsolete substances still remain in 231 warehouses spread all over Bulgaria.
  • The Swiss co-financing share of 85% reached CHF 14'361’790 of the eligibly spent in the framework of the Project funds. This comprises 72% of the committed Swiss funding.