Volunteers for the Environment (YVE)- The Gambia has signed a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) with the National Environment Agency (NEA) to conduct
research and jointly implement projects in the areas of solvent based paint
study and lead paint control and elimination in The Gambia.
Joe Bongay, Executive Director of YVE said their collaboration with NEA will enable them to reach out to stakeholders, including paint enterprises and business leaders and to prepare and release a national report that will present the results of the lead paint study. “We hope to also present the case for lead paint control and elimination in the country and to to establish legally-binding and enforceable regulatory controls or laws on the lead content of paint among other harmful chemicals.”
According to him, lead paints for home use continues to be widely produced and sold in developing countries despite the fact that most highly industrial countries have banned them for household use more than 40 years ago. “IPEN and YVE are part of global movement to eliminate lead paint by 2020 to protect children’s health,” he said.
He pointed out that through the MOU, both parties will organise trainings and programmes to build capacity and raise awareness among others on sustainable chemistry and waste management across the country.
According to Bongay, Gambia has ratified several international instruments including the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants; Basel Convention on the control of trans boundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal and the Rotterdam Convention on importation of hazardous chemicals.
He said there is increasing recognition among governments, NGOs and the public that human health and the environment are being compromised by the current arrangements for managing chemicals and hazardous wastes, saying these concerns have taken a new level of urgency as the quantity and range of new and existing chemicals grow rapidly in developing countries and economies in transition.
In the MOU, both parties recognized the need to take account of current and ever-changing social needs in relation to the implementation of the strategic approach to International chemicals management and the importance of having procedures that allow due attention to be given to issues that may not have been generally recognized or sufficiently addressed locally.