Dec 10, 2015, 10:48 AM
National Environment Agency (NEA), in collaboration with UNITAR, recently organised a two-day workshop on hazard communication on Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for the Classification and Labelling of Chemical from the various including the teachers institution
The programme was held at the Paradise Beach Hotel, the training enlightened students on the GHS, including how and why it was developed, how it relates to other international instruments and what it addresses.
Once a student is familiar with the GHS through the course, that student will be giving the opportunity to learn the details of the system and how to monitor it.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the permanent secretary of forestry and environment, Madam Nancy Nyang, who spoke on behalf of the Ministry of Forestry and Environment, said the international community is increasingly recognising the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of classification and labelling of chemicals and as an important tool for the implementation of international chemical and waste management agreement, including the strategic approach to international chemical management (SAICM).
He says The Gambia does not manufacture or formulate chemical compounds but heavily imports agricultural industrial and consumes chemicals to meet the challenges faced from rapid population growth and the ensuing negative trends in living condition and the environment.
“Chemicals directly affect our lives and are essential to our food, our health and our lifestyles, she said, adding that the widespread use of chemicals has resulted in the development of sector-specific regulation (transport, production, workplace, agriculture, trade, and consumer products,) having readily available information on hazardous properties of chemicals, and recommended control measures allow the production, transport, use and disposal of chemicals to be managed safely, thus human health and the environment are protected.
“We are a predominantly agricultural country and depend heavily on pesticides and plant growth regulation to enhance productively,” she said.
“Pesticides are equally heavily used in the public sector to control arthropod vector of human diseases and may be abusively used in the fisheries industry sector.”
According to her, the sound management of chemicals is therefore important not only to human use in environmental protection, but also for industries concerned with fisheries, crop production, livestock, water resource and public health.
For his part, Momodou Canteh, the technical director of NEA, said the production and use of chemicals are fundamental economic activities and important for the development of all countries whether industrialised or developing.
“Directly or indirectly, chemicals affect the lives of all humans and are essential to food supply (fertilisers, pesticide, food additives packaging), our health pharmaceuticals, cleaning materials, and our daily existence appliances and fuel,” Mr Canteh said, adding: “However there are potential adverse effect to the humans health and the Environment from the used of and exposure to these chemicals.”