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Monday, May 24, 1999 Published at 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK

World: Americas

Pesticide scare in emerging democracies

The United Nations food and agriculture organisation -- the FAO -- is asking chemicals companies to help with the huge cost of destroying hundreds-of-thousands of tonnes of obsolete pesticides, which are leaking from their containers in a number of countries.

The FAO says Poland alone has sixty-five-thousand tonnes of dangerous left-over pesticides, and it's still working out how much needs to be disposed of throughout central and eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Many of the chemicals were donated as aid, but they're either too old to use or have been subsequently banned.

The BBC Africa reporter says three-thousand tonnes have already been disposed of in a number of African and Middle-eastern countries, but it could take more than thirty years to make the region safe unless more is done now.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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