Government strategises efforts to minimize chemical incident during utilisation

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

National Environment Agency (NEA) Director of technical services network has told local authorities and dealers in chemicals and pesticides that chemicals are important determinants of sustainable development, sound environmental, health and quality life as people use them in all human activities including agriculture, health, energy production, manufacturing, services and residential which contributes to improving the quality of life.

But Dr. Dawda Badgie said their accidental releases from distribution, consumption and disposal may permanently damage soil, water, air, ecosystem and human health. “It also has harmful effects on workers, consumers, the environment and society at large through exposure”.

Speaking at a day regional stakeholder institutional capacity building for Ward Councillors, traders and dealers in chemicals and pesticides on the implementation of the Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs), Dr Badgie said Gambia Government and UNEP special program secretariat are implementing the project to avert dangers of chemicals when they are accidentally released.

Multilateral Environmental Agreements are the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), the Basel Convention on control of trans-boundary, movement of hazardous wastes and their disposal, the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure and the Minamata Convention on Mercury and Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).

Dr. Badgie said The Gambia is a party to the Stockholm Convention, he said is a legally binding international instrument designed to gradually decrease the presence of persistent organic pollutants in the environment that adversely affects human health and the environment.

“Because they can be transported by wind and water, most POPs generated in one country can affect people and wildlife far from where they are used and released. They persist for long periods in the environment and can accumulate and pass from one species to the next through food chain,” Dr. Badgie warned.

He said The Gambia ratified all the mentioned conventions with the ultimate aim to protect human health and the environment.

According to Dr. Badjie, objective of the special program is to support country-driven institutional strengthening in the context of an integrated approach to address financing of the sound management of chemicals and wastes. “This is done through taking into account the national development strategies, plans and priorities of each country to increase sustainable public institutional capacity for the sound management of chemicals and wastes throughout their life cycle.”

He posited that his institution in collaboration with relevant stakeholders organised the meeting to raise public awareness on the situation of chemicals and their related issues.

He said NEA targets the entire population, relevant stakeholders including law enforcement officers, agricultural extension workers, gardeners, farmers, dealers and local community members to raise their awareness on the situation of chemicals and their related impacts levied on the environment and human health.

Deputy CEO of Kanifing Municipal Council Bakary Jawo applauded and commended NEA for organising the educative dialogue, calling on people to ensure safe utilisation of chemicals to avoid their negative impacts on human health.

Author: Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang