Objective: Contribute to the global Youth for a Toxics-Free Future Campaign
A group of 20 volunteers among students is set up to implement the following activities:
- An open Facebook group is created: https://m.facebook.com/groups/865974701166533/?ref=share&mibextid=NSMWBT
- A webinar will be organized to discuss the role of youth in solving the problem of lead in paint.
- A flyer is created: (https://www.facebook.com/groups/865974701166533/permalink/927414381689231/?mibextid=Nif5oz); https://www.facebook.com/groups/865974701166533/permalink/881442322953104/?mibextid=Nif5oz.
- A short video on lead in paint is created: https://www.facebook.com/groups/865974701166533/permalink/927414051689264/?mibextid=Nif5oz; https://www.facebook.com/groups/865974701166533/permalink/892269698537033/?mibextid=Nif5oz.
- The materials created by Armenian youth are disseminated via the social media (AWHHE Youth Group): (https://www.facebook.com/groups/771372976317865/permalink/5891875367600908/?mibextid=Nif5oz;
- Armenia joined the call voiced in the petition to call for prioritizing the chemicals safety agenda worldwide, it is open for signatures. The text is below.
The text of the petition:
In 2018, Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment (AWHHE) conducted a project, “Support of the development of Green Climate Fund project and capacity building development in Armenia”
The project Support of the development of Green Climate Fund project and capacity building development in Armenia (https://awhhe.am/2018-support-of-the-development-of-green-climate-fund-project-and-capacity-building-development-in-armenia/) was implemented with financial support from The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) under the FAO YUNGA programme. In frame of the project, AWHHE gathered baseline household data and data about the development and distribution of environmental education resources.
(1) rural household survey was conducted, which established baselines of energy use and type (wood, gas, etc.) at different times of the year and determined the main drivers of forest and other natural resource degradation focusing on women as actor of change of natural resource management;
(2) electronic versions of the YUNGA resource materials were prepared in Armenian language (challenge badges on climate change, nutrition and forestry) for distribution and use in Armenia environmental education network.
Brief summary of the household survey
In 2018, Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment (AWHHE) conducted a household survey as part of activities for the provision of “Support for the development of Green Climate Fund” project and capacity building development in Armenia”.
The household survey contributed to the FAO Strategic Objective 2 – Make agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable; organizational outcome 2.2 countries developed or improved policies and governance mechanisms to address sustainable production, climate change and environmental degradation in agriculture, fisheries and forestry; output 2.2.1 policies, strategies and investment programmes formulate, in support to sustainable agriculture, forestry and fishery, and address climate change and environmental degradation. The survey was conducted under FAO UNGA Programme and contributed to FAO support to the Government of Armenia in developing its Green Climate Fund capacities and project portfolio for achieving its commitments under its (intended) nationally determined contribution (I)NDC under the UNFCCC Paris Agreement.
AWHHE used a household survey template provided by FAO to undertake household survey, the work was based on the agreed criteria. The provinces (marzes) and villages where the household surveys was undertaken were determined in coordination FAO and Hyantar. The survey was conducted in 28 villages in three Armenia’s marzes: Tavush, Lori and Syunik.The work also ensured the engagement with local communities (the administration/ mayors of the villages). The criteria of selection of individuals to be interviewed were determined based on village, household structure as well as location of the villages compared to forested areas. The compiled numeric data was provided in one excel sheet to allow easy elaboration of the data and the non-numeric responses (worded replies) are provided in a word document. The information is also provided in a gender disaggregated form.
Key findings/ AWHHE observations
During the survey, AWHHE made observations regarding the key barriers and enabling factors which could be created in developing an overview/vision and roadmap of women’s engagement in forest management. One of key observations reflected a more active social role of women in rural Armenia. The biggest challenge seemed to be the lack of awareness about the forest and pasture management, particularly among women. The public participation in particular women in related decision-making was therefore low.
Women seemed to be more active in decision-making in the following circumstances: (a) when women have to assume responsibility as head of the household, e.g. in the households where men are away from home for considerable time period due to outmigration, as well as where women are widowed or divorced; (b) when women in the families are employed or are engaged in public activities, that is are more indepenent; (c) when there is a participatory setting in the culture of decision-making in an individual family.
In families where women are not employed (housewives) and where the traditional role of men as decision-makers is predominant, the female respondents were passive in their answers and they did not express willingness to participate in management processes; generally these women are less informed. Howerver, given the fact that women are more often responsible for household cores (cooking, washing, etc.) and creating general family comfort environment, there seems to be an enabling factor when it comes to engaging women in decisions related to the use of natural resources, forest conservation and climate change.
The survey results, as well as the observations of the survey interviewers showed that wood is the most widely used fuel for heating.Generally, gas is used more than wood for cooking. The rest of respondents use wood, liquid gas and electricity. The use of gas, electricity and liquid gas during the cold season is reduced due to wood consumption. The women prefer using gas for cooking, as it is easier, faster and more comfortable. This is also seen in those villages which are not gasified. In these villages during hot season, the people prefer liquid gas to wood. During the cold season, some respondents of the villages both gasified and without gasification use wood in order to save money as gas compared to wood is more expensive.
In 4 communities of two regions AWHHE did a special presentation in Armenian language highlighting health and environmental risks particularly for children and women of child-bearing age, informing about available alternatives and urging to demand safe paint at retailer shops;
During the presentation lead in paint posters were distributed among retailers and other interested stakeholders
Workshops on the impact of POPs (Pesticides, PCBs) and mercury on human health and the environment and prevention of their harmful effects in the frame of the implementation of the Stockholm and Minamata conventions
From March 2 to June 30, 2020, the “Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment” (AWHHE) NGO conducted online workshops on the impact of POPs (particularly pesticides and PCBs) and mercury on human health and the environment and prevention of their harmful effects in the frame of the implementation of the Stockholm and Minamata conventions. The workshops were organized with the support of the Environmental Monitoring and Information Center of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Armenia.
The online workshops were held using such platforms like Zoom, Facebook Messenger or Viber, which were attended by 170 people of different professions and occupations concerned with environmental issues. Among the participants were teachers, lecturers, representatives of various NGOs, doctors, farmers, housewives, young parents, university and high school students. Sometimes more than one person took part in the discussion using the same computer.
The workshops were held with the residents of Baghramyan and Taperakan communities of Ararat Province, the city of Gyumri of Shirak Province, Solak community of Kotayk Province, the city of Armavir and Apaga community of Armavir Province and the city of Yerevan.
Eight workshops were held online, supported by the coordinators of the Public Environmental Information Centers in Gyumri, Armavir and Yerevan, and by the teachers of the communities who were knowledgeable on the online platforms.
Two workshops were conducted in Yerevan. The first online discussion was held together with the lecturers of the Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU) and the National Polytechnic University of Armenia (NPUA) with participation of the students of ANAU and the lecturers and students of NPUA.
The second workshop was held in cooperation with the Yerevan Aarhus Center with the participation of the Head of Research Center of the Crisis Management State Academy (CMSA), CMSA lecturers of the Faculty of Training, Faculty of Rescue Operations, and the discipline of Ecology, President of the “For Human Sustainable Development Association” NGO, President of the “Aquamarine” NGO, Head of the Environmental Education Program of the ATP Charitable Foundation, President of the “Public Awareness and Monitoring Center” NGO, Head of the “Syrian-Armenian Union” NGO, Head of the “Colors of Life” NGO, employee of the “Hydrometeorological and Monitoring Center” SNCO, coordinator of the Yerevan Aarhus Center and others.
The workshops were conducted by three employees of the AWHHE NGO.
- The impact of POPs (particularly pesticides) on human health and the environment and prevention of their harmful effects in the frame of the implementation of the Stockholm Convention
During the workshop, information was provided about the signing of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (2001) and its ratification (October 22, 2003) by Armenia and entry into force (May 17, 2004).
Then, it was presented which chemical compounds should be discarded, what categories of POPs belong to by the purpose of use or by origin.
The participants were provided with information on how the POPs accumulate in the human body and cause serious health problems noting that they affect the digestive, immune, respiratory, urogenital and endocrine systems.
It was also mentioned that they are dangerous for both people who work and live where POPs have been produced or used, and for people who have been directly exposed to these substances through inhalation, skin contact and food intake.
With regard to the residual quantities of POPs, it was noted that they contaminate crops and those who use them. Due to their ability to spread over long distances, POPs accumulate even in the bodies of fish, birds, and mammals that live far from where POPs are used or produced.
It was mentioned that the long-term use of the same pesticide reduces its effects on the pest, as the pest becomes resistant to the given substance.
Reference was also made to the fact that the use of POPs destroys not only the organisms for which these substances are intended, but also beneficial insects, birds, fish and other organisms.
An interesting discussion was held on environmental issues, and exhaustive answers were given to the questions raised during the workshop.
The participants were provided with links to a number of brochures related to the topic posted on the website of the AWHHE NGO:
- Minimizing the impact of pesticides remains a priority;
- Endocrine disruptors and their danger to human health;
- NO to pesticides, YES to integrated pest management;
- Our friend COMPOST;
- Alternative to pesticides.
- The impact of POPs (particularly polychlorinated biphenyls /PCBs/) on human health and the environment and prevention of their harmful effects in the frame of the implementation of the Stockholm Convention
During the workshop, the speaker introduced the topic on PCBs that are oils and solids having no taste, odor and color and having the following properties: fire resistance, low electrical conductivity, high resistance to thermal arc, high chemical stability and resistance to many oxidants and other chemicals.
Information was provided on PCB containing equipment and materials found in closed, partially closed and open systems.
The speaker also spoke about the impact of PCBs on the environment and human health, and on how to deal with unfit for use PCB containing equipment.
The actions to be taken in case of detection of unusable devices containing PCBs were presented. These are as follows:
- examination of unfit for use PCB-containing equipment;
- installation of PCB-containing equipment not suitable for operation in containers; labeling; registration; and in case of equipment damage and leakage of PCB-containing oils emptying of oils in the appropriate container and sealing; hermetically closing the opening of the device; packaging and labelling of both the oil container and equipment;
- transportation of packaged and labeled devices and containers;
- their storage in a temporary storage facility of hazardous substances, registration in the register;
It was noted, that the land contaminated by leakage of oils containing PCBs from unusable equipment is subject to PCBs testing. If the soils are contaminated, the contaminated layer must be removed and neutralized.
The methods of final removal of PCBs were also presented. These include:
In case of liquid waste:
- evaporation: high temperature combustion (> 1100°C);
In case of solid waste:
- underground burial (warehouses with permanent sealing system);
- chemical dechlorination (sodium vapor process);
- electrochemical processing using silver nitrate;
- pyrolysis in plasma arc: combustion.
- The impact of mercury on human health and the environment and prevention of its harmful effects in the frame of the implementation of the Minamata Convention
During the workshop, the speaker presented the widely used mercury – containing products.
Then she introduced the symptoms of acute and chronic mercury poisoning.
She also spoke about the Minamata Convention indicating the dates of its signing (October 10, 2013), ratification (December 13, 2017) and entry into force (March 13, 2018) by Armenia.
Afterwards, information was briefly presented on the research of the lamps made by the AWHHE NGO and on the disadvantages and advantages of incandescent, fluorescent and LED lamps. The speaker also presented in detail the necessary actions to be taken during the preparation, mechanical cleaning, chemical neutralization and removal stages in case the fluorescent lamp is broken.
The speaker explained the participants how to prepare solutions for chemical neutralization:
- Solution 1: 2% potassium permanganate solution (dissolve 2 g or half a teaspoon of potassium permanganate in 1 liter of water);
- Solution 2: prepare a mixture by taking 400 g or a pack of soda, 400 g of household soap and 10 liters of hot water;
- Solution 3: Dissolve one small bottle or 100 ml of iodine in 1 liter of water.
The speaker presented in detail the actions that each of us should avoid in case of lamp breakage:
- Do not switch on the air conditioner, as mercury vapors spread rapidly, poisoning the air. For the same reason it is forbidden to use a vacuum cleaner.
- Do not sweep the glass fragments with a broom, as toxic compounds will rise into the air along with the dust, and the broom will become contaminated.
- Do not throw glass and metal parts of fluorescent lamps in the trash, as this will be a source of secondary contamination.
- Do not touch the broken parts of the lamp with bare hands.
- Do not spill small fragments of the lamp in the toilet seat.
The speaker also highlighted the health risks posed by a broken fluorescent lamp. Then, she demonstrated the alternative products containing mercury-free products and their work.
The participants of the workshops were provided with links to a number of brochures related to the topic posted on the website of the AWHHE NGO:
- Advantages and disadvantages of different types of household lamps
- Broken fluorescent lamps are dangerous to health
|Svetlana Abrahamyan||Knarik Grigoryan||Mariam Keshishyan|
The 6th annual International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action took place from October 21-27, 2018. The “Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment” (AWHHE) NGO joined the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and other organizations around the world to promote banning lead paint and to raise awareness of the activities of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint. Within the framework of this initiative AWHHE implemented the following activities, supported by IPEN:
- Applied to the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia for reconsideration of the lead content in paints. According to the RA Minister of Health, the draft of technical regulation of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) “On Safety of Varnish Materials” is currently undergoing a review procedure, during which the Ministry of Health of Armenia proposed to ban the use of lead and lead pigments in varnish materials.
- Printed and distributed the materials created by AWHHE on the topic of lead paints (250 copies of booklets, 80 copies of posters).
- Organized seminars in the schools of Aygavan, Mushakan, Ararat and Vosketap, as well as in the schools No. 134 and 176, “Mkhitar Sebastatsi” Educational Complex (SNPO), Kindergarten No. 98 and Polyclinic of “Surb Grigor Lusavorich” Medical Center of the city of Yerevan.
- Created an article on lead poisoning to be published in 4 local electronic and print newspapers of Hrazdan, Dilijan, Stepanavan and Yeghegnadzor cities.
- Took part in the Webinar, organized by IPEN and the ՛՛Eco-Accord՛՛ on October 25, with participation of several NGOs from Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA). During the Webinar, the expert from AWHHE gave a presentation on the activities initiated by AWHHE during the Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. The participants discussed a number of issues, including the importance of monitoring the lead content in the paints, the role of the legislation in the regulation of the lead content, the selection of safe paints, and the economic aspects of regulation of the lead content in paints. Particular attention was paid to the legislative and economic issues related to the production, import and export of lead paints.
Project time-frame: April – September 2016 (6 months)
In 2016 AWHHE participated in the IPEN’s Lead Paint Elimination initiative by contributing to the IPEN global survey of the brands of household paints on sale. AWHHE surveyed 16 sales points in Armenia, including specialized shops, paint stores and private shops and prepared a record sheet of 47 brand paints in five colors (red, green, yellow, orange and white).
Results: The study has shown that there is a large quantity of household paints imported and available on the Armenian market. In 61.2% of the surveyed samples of brands of household paint (30 out of the 49 analyzed samples) the content of lead proved to be high as compared to the international lead-MPC (90 ppm).
On 14 September 2016 AWHHE presented the project at the seminar on Children’s Health Challenges due to Environmental Degradation and Climate Change. The event was organized by UNICEF-Armenia Office, the participants included various interested stakeholders from the government, international organizations and the organizations representing the Armenian civil society.
- СВИНЕЦ В МАСЛЯНЫХ КРАСКАХ ДЛЯ БЫТОВОГО ПРИМЕНЕНИЯ В РЕСПУБЛИКЕ АРМЕНИЯ
- International week of action on lead poisoning prevention
Seminar in UNICEF
For additional information please visit IPEN website: http://ipen.org/toxic-priorities/lead
The project is funded by the European Union (EU) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). Working with international and local partner organisations, and the Secretariat to the Rotterdam Convention, the project is seeking to cover twelve countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, The Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Currently, the project is operational in six former Soviet Republics – Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, and Ukraine.
In Armenia, the activities related to awareness raising on (obsolete) pesticides started on 15 August 2014 and will be accomplished by 14 May, 2015. The local project partner for this part of the project is AWHHE NGO.
The activities on awareness raising have two components and are implemented by AWHHE in coordination with FAO and jointly with the following partners:
- • Milieukontakt International, the Netherlands
- • Pesticide Action Network – the United Kingdom (PAN-UK)
Component 1: Awareness raising on Obsolete Pesticides
This project component is implemented in partnership with Milieukontakt International in the frame of “Improved pesticides and chemicals management in the former Soviet Union” project (http://milieukontakt.net/en/?p=1600 ).
AWHHE will conduct an awareness raising campaign on obsolete pesticides in 20 villages in four target regions (Tavush, Lori, Gegharkunik and Syunik) based on the results of a baseline study on farmers, local village people (most specifically women and children), community organizations, regional and national public agencies.
Component 2: Awareness raising on Pesticide Use
This project component is implemented in the frame of “Reducing pesticide risks and promoting alternatives in the former Soviet Union” project by PAN UK (http://www.pan-uk.org/projects/pan-uk-project-reducing-pesticide-risks-and-promoting-alternatives-in-the-former-soviet-union)
AWHHE will conduct a baseline study on pesticide exposure in Armenia which will capture data concerning high risk practices and exposure scenarios with a particular focus on women. This data will be used to inform communications and awareness raising activity, to strengthen regulatory decision-making and to prepare for more in-depth studies of pesticide poisoning and its causes in the higher risk communities identified.
PAN-UK staff, accompanied by Rotterdam Convention Secretariat, recently visited Armenia to initiate the baseline study jointly with AWHHE. Detailed information is provided below:
For more information on the project please visit project website
Ditak village school, Ararat region, Armenia
The Ditak village community has a secondary school built in 1967 that provides education to nearly 90 pupils aged from 6 to 17 years.
During a visit to the village school in 2009, AWHHE staff was shocked to see the dilapidated state of the school and the hard work of the teaching staff to provide the best possible education to schoolchildren. More detailed information about the school and renovation activities implemented in 2011-2012 is available under the project “Renovation of the School in Ditak Village” (Stage 1 and Stage 2).
The third stage of the activities was aimed at renovating the corridor, cloak-room, workshop, and the roof of the second block.
The third stage of the renovation work was supported by Swiss “Sourire vers l’Avenir” Foundation: USD 40 000.
Results of the third stage:
Implemented by: Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment (AWHHE)
Duration: 2013-2014, 12 months
According to the data of the Ministry of Agriculture of Armenia, there are some 200-280 tons of obsolete pesticides in the territory of the republic. These data are incomplete. There is a need to conduct inventory of obsolete and banned pesticides with the aim of their further elimination. Uncontrolled import and uninformed use of pesticides by individual farmers, as well as lack of knowledge on safe use of pesticides in agriculture may result in serious consequences not only for the environment but also for the health of the population. AWHHE is aware of the problems connected with such storages in the two target regions where pesticides were stored with no adherence to any sanitary norm in close proximity to populated areas and individual houses.
Target rural communities: 30 villages in Gegharkunik and Aragatsotn regions
Objectives: Reduce the risks due to highly hazardous pesticides through
- Conducting a rapid assessment of storages of banned and obsolete pesticides
- Raising-awareness of the rural population of the regions on health and environmental risks
Activities conducted during the project
- Rapid assessment of stockpiles (list of identified stockpiles, seminar on results for decision-makers and stakeholders
- Awareness-raising (a leaflet for farmers, a poster on identified stockpiles in two regions)
- AWHHE website update
- general population (focus on farmers) of 30 villages in two regions
- interested organizations (local NGOs/civil society groups, national NGOs working in the area of environmental protection and sustainable agriculture)
- local authorities
Information Materials produced by the project