Environmental incidents

An environmental incident is the contamination of any environmental compartment by a pesticide or a pesticide formulation causing adverse effects on non-target organisms and/or on ecosystem services and/or on biodiversity.


  • any environmental compartment: land, water, sediment, air;
  • pesticide: any substance, or mixture of substances of chemical or biological ingredients intended for repelling, destroying or controlling any pest, or regulating plant growth (FAO/WHO Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management 2014);
  • (pesticide) formulation: the combination of various ingredients designed to render the product useful and effective for the purpose claimed and for the envisaged mode of application (FAO/WHO Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management 2014)[1];
  • non-target organisms: any living organism (animals, plants, microorganisms) that are not constituting the pest for which the pesticide is applied;
  • ecosystem services: “the benefits people derive from ecosystems”. Besides provisioning services or goods like food, wood and other raw materials, plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms provide essential regulating and supporting services such as pollination of crops, nutrient cycling, organic matter decomposition, prevention of soil erosion and water purification, and many cultural services, such as recreation and a sense of place (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2001-2005);
  • biodiversity: the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems (Convention of Biodiversity (CBD) handbook 2005).

[1] A severely hazardous pesticide formulation (SHPF) is defined by the Rotterdam Convention as a chemical formulated for pesticidal use that produces severe health or environmental effects observable within a short period of time after single or multiple exposure, under conditions of use (Rotterdam Convention Text, 2019).