Department Environmental Chemistry

Zarcero – pesticide use and pollution in an agricultural area in Central Costa Rica

Pesticides are intensively used in agriculture across the globe. In many parts of the world, they pose a threat to human and environmental health. This holds especially true in developing countries where good agricultural practices are often poorly implemented. At the same time, the data basis to quantify the degree of pollution and to understand the fate of these compounds in the environment is generally very limited. 

This project aims at reducing these knowledge gaps. In collaboration with our partners from the Instituto Regional de Estudios en Sustancias Tóxicas (IRET) at the Universidad Nacional (UNA) at Heredia we investigate the spatial and temporal occurrence of pesticides in surface waters of the Zarcero area in central Costa Rica. The Eawag part focusing on environmental aspects will be complemented by a study on human health carried out with partners at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) and by an institutional analysis of pesticide legislation (Policy Analysis, University of Bern). Overall, the study shall provide a comprehensive systems understanding of how pesticides are used, how humans and the aquatic environment get exposed and what promising mitigations options could be implemented.

Last update: 24. November 2015