Ministry of Healthcare received 6 million soms Equipment to Help Identify Persistent Organic Pollutants in Environment

Mar 1, 2013

Reagent pack for detecting PCBs in soil. Credit: Kairatbek Murzakimov / UNDP

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – Preventive Healthcare and Expertise Department of the Kyrgyz Republic Ministry of Healthcare received equipment to identify polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) – persistent organic pollutants in environment. PCB management and disposal project in Kyrgyzstan has handed over 6 million KGS worth of equipment that include express-analyzers, gas chromatograph, and laboratory ware.

Banned since 1970s as a carcinogen, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) are still around in everything from fluorescent lights to electrical transformers and capacitors. Moreover, these organic pollutants exist in caulking and sealants widely used on brickwork, windows, various structures and some types of piping. Therefore, these pollutants are both environment and health risks driven and should be seriously considered and identified.

PCBs are mainly released from power equipment in use or phased out by leaking and coagulating on the ground with further evaporation into the atmosphere. Having evaporated, PCBs can dramatically contaminate local environment, contributing to water and soil degradation. Furthermore, PCBs have human exposure when everybody has some traits of them in body. Humans can absorb PCBs by breathing contaminated air or through the skin or to a greater extent by eating or drinking contaminated food. Recent studies show that Kyrgyzstan has 26 tons of PCB wastes to be properly disposed.

While national government remains reluctant and pays little attention to the emerging risks of contaminated food and environment due to PCB equipment waste, the department is expected to increase capacity and skills in identification of PCBs in fluids, oil, water and soil and environment, using express analyzers and gas chromatograph. It is believed, that strengthened capacity will significantly decrease cost and time for PCBs identification and facilitate timely decision making.

PCB management and disposal project provides Kyrgyzstan with the instruments to achieve effective follow-up of its obligations on Stockholm Convention through identification of PCBs and public awareness, strengthening legislative and regulatory measures, and supporting institutions, development of technical capacity for sustainable PCBs management and disposal.

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