23 March 2022, Chattogram, Bangladesh - A field worker suiting up with protective gear before beginning his workday of DDT disposal.
What is thought to be the world's largest remaining stockpile of the now banned pesticide Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane?DT), left in the heart of Bangladesh's second biggest city for 37 years, is set to finally leave for France for incineration at a specialist facility.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has led the complex international operation to remove the DDT and to decontaminate the storage site in the port city of Chattogram. Bangladesh imported 500 tonnes (500 000 kg) of the pesticide in 1985 to control malaria-carrying mosquitos but the consignment was deemed technically non-compliant. Upon arrival it was put into a government compound, the Medical Sub-Depot of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), in the Agrabad district. Over the years, many of the boxes and bags disintegrated leaving exposed piles of the white DDT powder. In 1991 Bangladesh imposed a DDT ban but the huge consignment remained, largely forgotten about.