Water resources under threat from environmental pollutants and toxins.


Environmental pollutants such as lead and mercury as well as toxic pesticides and radionuclides present a threat to the water and soil. The Water for Life and Peace programme includes technical interventions, the education of affected groups and the development and strengthening of institutional capacities to promote the preservation of vital water resources and access to clean drinking water.


Development of procedures to survey and dispose of obsolete pesticides in Eastern Europe and Central Asia


Over decades, 5 to 10 million tonnes of obsolete pesticides, among them POPs (persistent organic pollutants), have accumulated globally. To address the risks of these pesticides, a transfer of know-how is required to ensure that the stocks are disposed of in a safe and adequate manner and that in the future, such vast amounts of obsolete pesticides will never be generated again. With its Water for Life and Peace programme, Green Cross Switzerland introduces proven methods to deal with these enormous amounts of obsolete pesticides in the former Soviet Union.


Several projects are being implemented as a prevention in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and West Africa to dispose of obsolete pesticides. The aim of the projects is to educate the population about the risks of pesticides, to train experts in the safe disposal of chemicals and to introduce non-toxic alternatives for pest control.


Introduction and implementation of the Stockholm Convention in West Africa


Since 2011, best practices have been introduced in West Africa and necessary knowledge has been transferred to ensure the Stockholm Convention on the ban of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) can be fully implemented. POPs are chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become globally distributed, accumulate in the fatty tissue of living organisms and have massive negative effects on health. 


Restoration of uranium mines


Uranium mining for nuclear energy and the production of nuclear weapons results in large amounts of toxic waste which contaminates the soil, rivers and even groundwater. In Tajikistan, a spoil heap was cleaned up to protect the population. The Tajikistan government attaches great importance to this restoration project of the former uranium fabrication plant in Schkalovsk. It is regarded as pioneering work for further restoration efforts of contaminated areas due to uranium mines. Kyrgyzstan has also seen extensive uranium, lead and zinc mining. A plan to restore the mining locations of Sumsar and Shekaftar is in progress.


Green Cross Switzerland develops and implements the Water for Life and Peace programme under the direction of Dr. Stephan Robinson and in collaboration with Pure Earth (formerly Blacksmith Institute), UNEP, FAO, WHO, World Bank and local partners. The programme is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (DEZA/SDC), the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (EDA/FDFA), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as well as various sponsors.