Skopje, 14 June 2021

New equipment for the Laboratory at the Institute of Chemistry for monitoring the clean-up of the lindane from OHIS

The Laboratory for Chromatographic Analysis of the Institute of Chemistry is putting in use the new equipment for conducting environmental analysis that will be used for independent monitoring and control of the environmental effects of the OHIS clean-up process. The equipment in the value of 94,000 USD has been donated by the Kingdom of Norway through the Nordic Support for Progress of North Macedonia project implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Service (UNOPS).

“Norway has been providing significant support to the clean-up of the lindane from the OHIS site for the last two years. Together with the Government we have established the Multi-Partner Environmental Fund managed by UNOPS. We have so far committed 1.5 million euros to the fund tasked to manage this complex clean-up operation. We are confident that with our support and the support from the wider community, this long-lasting environmental issue will finally come to an end. We also believe that it is important to have a well placed monitoring of the clean-up process and that is why we are supporting the Laboratory to increase its capacities and be able to conduct these important environmental analyses”, stated Mr. Geir Håkon Johansen, Deputy Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway.

 The Laboratory for Chromatographic Analysis has received equipment such as a gas chromatograph, samplers, concentrators, labware, solvents and standards that will ensure regular monitoring of pollutant emissions in air and soil in line with the OHIS clean-up monitoring plan. This equipment will at the same time increase the local capacities in environmental protection as the laboratory will also operate as a research laboratory for developing methods to analyse pesticides and other organic pollutants, and provide service to the community and public entities for monitoring the environment. 

“It is my pleasure to announce that two UN agencies, UNIDO and UNOPS, are working on the remediation of the contaminated soil. UNIDO will conduct the initial remediation of 450 tons hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) waste and 200 tons HCH contaminated soil from the small basin in OHIS, and additionally UNOPS, though its Multi Partner Environmental Fund (MPEF) and the Nordic Support for Progress of North Macedonia project will be responsible for remediation of 240 tons of HCH and 653 tons of HCH contaminated soil. We expect the field work, with site preparation, to start latest in July. During the clean-up we will continuously inform the public of the progress of the entire process”, announced Mr. Naser Nuredini, Minister of Environment and Physical Planning.

The Norwegian Embassy will also support the laboratory in the accreditation process that will be conducted soon. This will ensure that the methods used by the laboratory are in accordance with the highest standards and will be granted formal recognition to perform these measurements.

“The main goal of the laboratory would be the control of the environment during the clean-up of the lindane deposits and its isomers in the OHIS factory yard. For this purpose the laboratory has been equipped and is being prepared to undergo an accreditation process in accordance to the test laboratory standards. Our long-term goal, as a higher education and scientific institution is to continuously upgrade and strengthen the laboratory capacities with people and equipment and to contribute to the education of competent chemists for the laboratories in the institutions and the industry, as well as to include programmes for monitoring of environmentaL organic pollutants as one of the tools to cope with pollution”, stated professor Marina Stefova, head of the laboratory for chromatographic analysis.