Friday, September 20, 2019

Officers from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry during the website updating session in Naivasha.

The sound management of chemicals and wastes is an important component in achieving sustainable, inclusive and resilient human development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that, all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Integrating chemicals management priorities into the national environment and poverty reduction planning frameworks, will help countries to access financial and technical resources to implement and improve the holistic management of chemicals and waste.

Speaking during a workshop to up-grade and update the Chemicals Management, Mainstreaming and Unintentionally Produced Organic Pollutant’s Project website, the Project Technical advisor, Mr. Francis Kihumba noted that, the project intends to protect human health and the environment by managing the risks posed by production, use, importation and exportation of chemicals and reducing or preventing the release of Unintentionally Produced Organic Pollutant’s (U-POPs), and toxic compounds originating from the unsafe management of waste in the health care waste and municipal waste sectors.

Noting that a chemical is any substance consisting of matter, including any liquid, solid, gas or any pure substance (an element) or any mixture (a solution, compound, or gas), Mr. Kihumba observed that, chemicals can solve societal problems of social and economic development. They can also have inherent hazards and be a risk to human health and the environment.

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), are a group of chemicals which are intentionally or unintentionally produced. They can be pesticides or industrial chemicals, and pose unacceptable risk to human health and are listed under the Stockholm Convention on POPs for severe restriction and eventual elimination.

Some chemicals are also unintentionally produced organic pollutants (UPOPs), like dioxins and furans. They are priority chemicals because of their serious negative impact to human health and environment, and are produced by open burning of waste or incomplete combustion due to low temperatures. They can cause various diseases such as cancer, compromise immune deficiency; affect negatively reproductive health and many other diseases as elaborated under the Stockholm Convention.

In addressing the sound management of chemicals and   policy guidance for all waste, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry is implementing the Sound Chemicals Management, Mainstreaming and UPOPs Reduction Project in Kenya, which is being implemented in the counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and Kisumu.

The project, that is being financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)  and executed by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (ME&F), which assumes the overall responsibility for the achievement of project results as the lead Implementing Partner (IP),  will protect human health and the environment by managing the risks posed by production, use, import and export of chemicals, reduce  and prevent the release of U-POPs and toxic compounds originating from the burning of health care and municipal wastes, adopt an integrated approach for the proper management of waste within the health care facilities by replacing open burning or burning in single chamber incinerators with compliant equipment and practices.

The workshop, that was held in a Naivasha hotel, was attended by officers from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the UPOPs Project team. It aimed at developing a one stop repository site of chemicals and waste information in Kenya and bridge the information gap amongst various actors in the chemicals and waste arena and also show – case initiatives by different actors.

A memorable group photo of the officers undertaking the UPOPs website updating exercise in Naivasha.

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