Assessing farmers' practices on disposal of pesticide waste after use

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<ul><li><p>nav, 6</p><p>A R T I C L E I N F O</p><p>Article history:Received 6 May 2007Received in revised form7 October 2007</p><p>disposal of pesticide wastes can create hazards for humans Pesticide waste is considered any substance or material</p><p>S C I E N C E O F T H E T O T A L E N V I R O N M E N T 3 9 0 ( 2 0 0 8 ) 3 4 1 3 4 5</p><p>ava i l ab l e a t i enced i rec t . com</p><p>m/and the environment (Elfvendahl et al., 2004; Sivanesan et al.,2004; Buczynska and Szadkowska-Stanczyk, 2005). Intensefarming and pest control activities which are often based onheavy pesticide use promote hazardous waste build up inmany phases of pesticide handling. Due to lack of education</p><p>containing pesticide that cannot or will not be used andtherefore must disposed of. Pesticide waste includes surplusspray solutions, pesticide leftover which remains in theapplication equipment after use, pesticide-contaminatedwater produced by cleaning the application equipment or1. Introduction</p><p>In recent years, concern has been growing that improper</p><p>has been frequently identified in many developing areas, isanother major health risk (Clarke et al., 1997; Sinzogan et al.,2004; Ibitayo, 2006; Lu, 2006).and guidance in the propermanagement opesticide-related waste, hazardous chemlying around in rural and urban areas, wcontaminated empty containers for domes</p><p> Corresponding author. Tel.: +30 2351 351 21E-mail address: (C.A. Dam</p><p>0048-9697/$ see front matter 2007 Elsevidoi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2007.10.028during all phases of pesticide handling. 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.RinsatesSafetyA B S T R A C T</p><p>Common practices of farmers on disposal of pesticide waste after use were surveyed in fiveregions of the rural area of Pieria in northern Greece using a structured questionnaireadministered via personal interviews. Concerning leftover spray solutions, most farmersreported that they normally re-spray the treated field area until the spraying tank is empty(54.9%) or they apply the leftover spray solutions to another crop listed on the product label(30.2%). Aminority of the farmers (4.3%)mentioned that they often release the leftover spraysolutions near or into irrigation canals and streams. As regards rinsates generated fromwashing the application equipment, most farmers reported that they release the rinsatesover a non-cropped area (45.7%) or they drop the rinsates near or into irrigation canals andstreams (40.7%). Moreover, a great proportion of the farmers stated that they dump theempty containers by the field (30.2%) or they throw them near or into irrigation canals andstreams (33.3%). Burning the empty containers in open fire (17.9%) or throwing the emptycontainers in common waste places (11.1%) was also reported. Several farmers stated thatthey continue to use old pesticides for spraying (35.8%). Training programs which raiseawareness of farmers of the potential hazards of pesticide use and particularly of the propermanagement of waste products, recycling programs and collection systems for unwantedagricultural chemicals to prevent inappropriate waste disposal, as well as improvingpackaging of pesticides to minimize waste production are essential for promoting safetyAccepted 15 October 2007Available online 26 November 2007</p><p>Keywords:ContainersOld pesticidesPesticide solutionsAssessing farmers' practices oafter use</p><p>Christos A. Damalas, Georgios K. Telidis, StDepartment of Agricultural Development of Pieria, 28th Octovriou 40</p><p>www.e l sev i e r. cof small quantities oficals are often lefthereas the reuse oftic purposes, which</p><p>9; fax: +30 2351 351 111.alas).</p><p>er B.V. All rights reserveddisposal of pesticide waste</p><p>ros D. Thanos0100 Katerini, Greece</p><p>l oca te / sc i to tenvfrom rinsing the empty pesticide containers, pesticide-con-taminated materials generated from cleaning up spilledpesticides, empty (unrinsed) pesticide containers, and oldpesticide products (Nesheim and Fishel, 2005). Proper</p><p>.</p></li><li><p>Generation of pesticide waste of various kinds is often</p><p>One hundred and sixty-two farmers participated voluntar-</p><p>I R Oinevitable in almost every agricultural operation from storageto use and equipment cleanup (Felsot et al., 2003). Even emptypesticide containers may often retain unacceptable quantitiesof pesticide residues if they are not rinsed properly (Braun et al.,1983; Miles et al., 1983). The best way to manage waste which isderived from pesticide use is to avoid producing it in the firstplace. Ideally, this can be achieved by planning the job properlyand using the amount of the product needed (Whitford et al.,2001). However, improper disposal of unwanted pesticidesolutions and empty pesticide containers have been confirmedasmajor problems inmany situations (Avory and Coggon, 1994;London, 1994; Stewart, 1996; Yassin et al., 2002; Hurtig et al.,2003; Ntow et al., 2006; Recena et al., 2006).</p><p>Management of hazardous waste in Greece is regulated bynational legislation (Joint Ministerial Decisions 13588/725/06and 24944/1159/06 setting up terms, measures, and generaltechnical requirements to the management of hazardouswaste) according to the EU legislation (Directive 91/689/EECamended by Directive 94/31/EC and Regulation No166/06)which provide a legal framework for the management anddisposal of toxic waste. However, despite the existence oflegislation, the present methods for disposing of hazardouswaste are not adequate and often there is poor enforcement(Ferguson, 1999). Unfortunately, no information is available onthe management of pesticide waste at the farmer's level.</p><p>Knowledge of farmers' attitudes towards disposal ofpesticide waste can be useful to find out critical points ofintervention to promote safety during pesticide handling.Such knowledge lacks in Greece where studies of this kindhave not been conducted. Prompted by local interest in publicand environmental health aspects of pesticides, the Depart-ment of Agricultural Development of Pieria took the initiativeto monitor farmers' practices on disposal of pesticide wasteafter use and to develop a public education and informationprogram on safe use of pesticides. Thus, a survey wasconducted to obtain this information and some of the mostsalient observations are reported herein. Although this studywas concerned with pesticide waste disposal in the area ofPieria, the information gained could be of interest also to othercommunities. In particular, the objective of this study was toassess the most common practices regarding disposal ofpesticide waste after use among farmers of the rural area ofPieria in northern Greece.</p><p>2. Materials and methods</p><p>The study was conducted in five rural regions of prefecture ofPieria. The prefecture of Pieria is located at the southern partof northern Greece, covers a total area of 1516 km2, and has apopulation of 134,739 habitants. The examined regionspesticide waste disposal is an important part of responsiblepesticide use. Accidental release or uncontrolled discharge ofpesticide waste into the environment can harm people andcontaminate the environment. Pesticide-contaminated waterposes a great hazard to non-target organisms such as plants,beneficial insects, fish and other aquatic life.</p><p>342 S C I E N C E O F T H E T O T A L E N Vinclude a great proportion of rural population heavily depen-dent on cereal crop production, tobacco production, tree fruitily in the study. The surveyed population included localfarmers over 21 years living all year in the regions studied.Selection of farmers was totally random. Initially, prospectiveparticipants were identified by farmers' complete lists kept atthe Directorate of Agricultural Development of Pieria and thenwere contacted by telephone to find out if they were willing toparticipate in the study. To avoid any potential bias, it wasmade clear to the farmers that the study was only foracademic research. In case a farmer refused to participate,the selection procedure was repeated until an adequatesample was obtained. Based on the time frame set and theavailable financial sources for this project, an adequatesample was defined as any sample which would provideerror less than 10% at 95% confidence level.</p><p>All participants of the survey were full-time farmersearning off their income mainly from agricultural activities.Most of them were small-scale landowners (owners of about5 ha but no more than 10 ha) with small family farms.However, it must be noted here that the size of a landholdingalone is not always a good criterion for categorizing farmers.Farmers who own 1 ha of irrigated land are generally moreprosperous than those who own 2 ha of land in an area proneto drought with low productivity. Field sizes varied consider-ably from small and spatially dispersed parcels to muchgreater plots due to the great fragmentation of the arable land.</p><p>Data were collected by means of a structured questionnaireadministered via personal interviews. This method was usedbecause some of the respondents did not have formal educationand many of those who had some education might not befamiliar with the terminology used in the questionnaire. Thequestionnaire contained both fix-response and open-endedquestions about common practices of farmers on disposal ofpesticide waste after use. In particular, farmers were presentedwith a number of multiple choice tests and were asked tochoose the answer which they thought it best described theirattitude for each particular case. Besides closed questions, freespace for alternative answers was also included in all questions.The questions and the possible alternative answers were readto interviewees by the interviewers who ticked the givenanswer(s). The interviews were conducted in a friendly wayand there was very good cooperation without any refusals.</p><p>The raw data from the screening questionnaires were codedand entered into specially designed databases (MicrosoftAccess). Once the data had been initially entered they werecarefully checked for entry errors. Relative frequencies ofanswers were calculated for each question. Data were trans-ferred to appropriate spreadsheets (Microsoft Excel) and SPSS(version 10) for statistical analysis. Relative frequencies werecompared using the chi-square test to determine significantdifferences in the proportions of given answers. Mean differ-ences were declared significant at the 95% confidence level.</p><p>3. Results and discussionproduction, and also dairy operations and theywere randomlyselected to obtain a representative sample for all the area.</p><p>N M E N T 3 9 0 ( 2 0 0 8 ) 3 4 1 3 4 5Respondents' ageswere between 21 and 70 yearswith an averageof 47.8 and a standard deviation 10.9 years. Agedistributionof the</p></li><li><p>chemical residues or rinsates evenly on the field just sprayed.Dumping the empty containers by the field or throwing</p><p>them near or into irrigation canals and streams is a totallyunsafe practice and has been reported as amajor problem in a</p><p>Table 1 Age of respondents</p><p>Age No. %</p><p>2130 8 4.93140 32 19.84150 57 35.25160 44 27.2</p><p>Table 3 Farmers' attitudes on disposing of leftoverpesticide spray solutions</p><p>Main attitude No. %</p><p>I store the leftover solution for another application 3 1.9I apply the leftover solution over a non-cropped area 14 8.6I re-spray the treated field area until the tank is empty 89 54.9I release the leftover solution to irrigation canals orstreams</p><p>7 4.3</p><p>I apply the leftover solution to another crop listed on thelabel</p><p>49 30.2</p><p>343S C I E N C E O F T H E T O T A L E N V I R O N M E N T 3 9 0 ( 2 0 0 8 ) 3 4 1 3 4 5respondents is shown in Table 1. The largest group of respon-dents was the age group of 4150 with second in number that of5160. The two groups together comprised 62.4% of the totalsample studied. Education level of the respondents is shown inTable 2. A considerable proportion of the farmers (26%) either hadno education at all or did not complete the primary education,whereas a significant part of the farmers (48%) had completed theprimary education. No farmer had completed tertiary education.It must be noted here that the reported age and education levelsrefer only to the specific sample of participants in the regionssurveyed. Weighting across ages and education levels was notperformed and the sample does not reflect age and educationlevel of farmers at a national level.</p><p>Most farmers reported that they normally re-spray thetreated field area until the spraying tank is empty (54.9%) orthey apply the leftover solutions to another crop listed on theproduct label (30.2%) (2=101.3, pb0.001) (Table 3). Somefarmers (8.6%) reported that they apply the leftover solutionover a non-cropped area. Aminority of the farmers stated thatthey release the leftover solutions near or into irrigationcanals and streams (4.3%) or they store the leftover solutionfor another application (1.9%). Most farmers reported thateither they release the rinsates over a non-cropped area(45.7%) or they release the rinsates near or into irrigationcanals and streams (40.7%) (2=59.5, pb0.001) (Table 4). Fewfarmers (13.6%) stated that they apply the rinsates to thetreated field. A great proportion of the farmers said that theynormally dump the empty containers by the field (30.2%) orthey throw them near or into irrigation canals and streams(33.3%) (2=73.9, pb0.001) (Table 5). Throwing containers incommon waste places (11.1%) or burning containers in openfire (17.9%) was also reported. Few farmers stated that theycollect the empty containers and bury them (3.1%) or theycollect the empty containers for selling (2.5%) or they keep theempty containers for other uses (1.9%). Just over a third of thefarmers stated that they continue to use old pesticide forspraying (35.8%), whereas a smaller proportion said that theyburn old pesticides in their original containers (23.5%)(2=69.3, pb0.001) (Table 6). Some farmers claimed that theybuy only the amount of pesticides they need (17.3%) and some</p><p>6170 21 12.9others reported that they dump old pesticides in commonwaste places (16%).</p><p>Table 2 Education of respondents</p><p>Education level No. %</p><p>None (or primary uncompleted) 42 25.9Primary 78 48.1Lower secondary 30 18.5Upper secondary 12 7.4Tertiary 0 0.0Re-spraying the treated areawith the leftover pesticide solutionis certainly a risky practice because this practice doubles therecommended rate on the crop often resulting in several majorproblems such as crop damage (phytotoxicity), unacceptableresidues in the harvested products, or harmful residues in thesoil. Similarly, disposing of the leftover solutions to non-cropped areas may pose a threat for surface water orgroundwater and pose a hazard to humans, domestic animals,and wildlife. Agricultural water pollution due to the intensifi-cation of agricultural practices and particularly due to thegrowing use of pesticides has an increasing impact on waterquality and is becoming a major concern not only in developedregions but also inmany developing countries. The best way todispose of any excess spray mixture is to find other nearbyfields that require an application of the same pesticide, butbef...</p></li></ul>