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Summary Report: Otorohanga Agrichemical Collection 2007

Report: TR 2008/03
Author: William Gauntlett

Abstract

Environment Waikato, in association with the Ministry for the Environment, undertook an unwanted agrichemical collection programme in the Waitomo district over the summer of 2006-2007. This collection, netting 4.5 tonnes of chemicals, cost less than budgeted. The result of this was that Environment Waikato undertook a second district collection, this time in Otorohanga. Again, the main aim was to collect Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), but all unwanted agrichemicals were collected.

The collection, carried out in May-June 2007, was offered free to all farmers/growers in the district and it was predicted that the collection would received about same volume of agrichemicals as that collected in the Waitomo district between February and April 2007. As indicated from the Waitomo collection, a target of less than 1000 farmers/growers, with registration rate greater than 10%, should result in the surrender of around 4.5 tonnes of unwanted agrichemicals.

The project was initially communicated to farmers/growers through a personally addressed letter and one article in a local newspaper. This contact requested only phone or email registrations – no mail-back registration forms were used. The initial contact was followed by a reminder phone call inviting those not yet registered to do so.

At the outset, there appeared to be 1169 farmers/growers in the Otorohanga district. As the project progressed double-ups and farmers/growers not requiring contact were removed. It was found that 804 farmers/growers required phone contact. In total, 526 farmers/growers (65%) were contacted. From these, 116 farmers/growers (14%) registered chemicals for collection.

At the completion of the collection, a total of approximately 5.5 tonnes of unwanted agrichemicals had been collected from 120 farms (15%) with a mean of 45.8 kilogram per participant and a median of 17 kilogram. POPs were collected from nine properties (7.5% of those from which collections were made) with a total volume of 38 kilogram (0.7% of total).

Comparisons have been made between the Otorohanga and Waitomo collections. The registration process and types of chemicals collected were fairly similar in both areas. The cost of the two collections was substantially different and the savings made during the Otorohanga collection were because of the procedures and templates being created during the Waitomo collection. A distinct difference can also be seen in the types and amounts of chemicals received from properties with different land uses. Notably, there was a much higher proportion of intractable agrichemicals collected from drystock properties when compared to dairy farms in both districts.

The project was successful in recovering a considerably high total volume of unwanted agrichemicals, collecting from a significant proportion of the farms in the target area and effectively utilising the remaining budget. The total cost of the collection was low, but as the quantity of POPs collected was very low questions have arisen regarding the efficiency of the project to collect POPs. If the cost is based only on the volume of POPs collected, because of the very low volume collected, the project was expensive. But, if the assessment is based on the collection of unwanted agrichemicals and their removal from the rural environment, the project was successful.

 

Summary Report: Otorohanga Agrichemical Collection 2007
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Table of contents

  Executive summary iii
1 Introduction 1
1.1 Waitomo collection method 1
1.2 Changes to Waitomo collection method 1
2 Results 2
2.1 Registration 2
2.2 Collection 3
2.3 Costs 5
3 Discussion 5
3.1 Registrations 5
3.2 Collection 6
3.3 Costs 7
4 Comparison: Otorohanga and Waitomo collections 9
4.1 Registration 9
4.2 Collection 9
4.3 Costs 11
5 Conclusion 12
  References 13
Appendix 1 Letter to farmers/growers 14
Appendix 2 Materials collected 16