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Minister for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2001-2004

The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

 

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Media Release
Environment Protection and Heritage Council

16 April 2004

1,700 tonnes of unwanted farm chemicals collected over three years


Australia's Environment Ministers today hailed the success of the ChemCollect program, which has collected approximately 1,700 tonnes of unwanted and deregistered chemicals from farms around Australia.

Meeting in Adelaide, the Environment Protection and Heritage Council today released the final report on the ChemCollect program.

Conducted nationally by all the States and the Northern Territory, the $27m ChemCollect program collected and safely disposed of unwanted and deregistered agricultural and veterinary chemicals from farms from 1999 to December 2002. The ACT had already conducted a collection.

Chair of the Environment Protection and Heritage Council, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage Dr David Kemp, said the ChemCollect program was a successful initiative and a great example of government, industry and the community working together to achieve an excellent outcome.

"This kind of initiative helps farmers to manage chemicals better," said Dr Kemp.

South Australia's Minister for the Environment John Hill agreed, saying that many farmers in West Australia took advantage of the one-off offer to rid their properties of agricultural and veterinary chemicals, particularly the more persistent, deregistered chemicals such as pentachlorophenol, DDT, dieldrin and chlordane.

"Many of the chemicals collected, particularly persistent organochlorine pesticides, posed a risk to the environment, human health and the contamination of agricultural products. Removing these chemicals significantly reduced these risks," said Minister Hill.

Since the completion of the program in 2002, the majority of chemicals collected have been reused or destroyed. There are still some organochlorine pesticides collected through the program that are being kept in secure storage awaiting destruction - as there is only one Australian facility able to destroy this waste.

A new industry driven program called ChemClear has been introduced to build on the achievements of the one-off ChemCollect program, which collected deregistered chemicals.. ChemClear will provide farmers with a disposal service for unwanted but still registered agricultural and veterinary chemicals, which are otherwise non-returnable.

ChemClear undertook its first pilot program in December 2003 and the full program should be operational by mid-2004. ChemClear will be a critical element of the industry's environmental performance in product stewardship.

A copy of the ChemCollect report is available at www.ephc.gov.au. For more information on ChemCollect visit www.deh.gov.au/industry/chemicals/scheduled-waste/farm.html and for information on ChemClear, visit www.chemclear.com.au

For further enquiries contact:
Dr Bruce Kennedy, Executive Officer
Environment Protection & Heritage Council
phone: 08 8419 1200
bkennedy@ephc.gov.au

Commonwealth of Australia