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National Plan on chemical management updated

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Today was the conclusion of a two-day consultation workshop that dealt with updating the National Implementation Plan (NIP) on the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) in Belize. The workshop was an initiative of the Department of the Environment in collaboration with the Basel Convention Regional Center for the Caribbean in Trinidad & Tobago. Love news spoke with Analissa Rashwed, Project Execution Officer at the Basel Convention Regional Center for the Caribbean about the chemical management.

Analissa Rashwed – Project Execution Officer

“Specifically we are here to update Belize’s National Implementation Plan with respect to meeting their obligations under the Stockholm convention. The Stockholm convention on persistent organic pollutants is a convention under the United Nations and so this convention seeks to access countries develop mechanisms by way they can deal with their chemicals and their issues of chemical management in their country and so it recognizes that chemicals management is a global issue and so it identifies broad scale approaches by which countries can now adopt into their national approach to deal with their chemicals issue.”

Reporter

“How is it advised  that countries should deal with their chemical issue?”

Analissa Rashwed – Project Execution Officer

“Well the advice is given in numerous guidance documents under the convention and ultimately there are chemicals listed under the convention. Right now there are twenty six chemicals as of the last conference of the parties in 2017, so guidance documents are provided for each of these chemicals and how countries can go about dealing with the chemical issues.”

Love news also spoke with Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer at the Department of the Environment about the initiative

Martin Alegria – Chief Environmental Officer

“In 2006 what we did was develop a baseline and inventory of the different persistent organic pollutants or chemicals that existed in Belize with an action plan.  A ten year action plan to see how we could start to manage better and dispose of what we had as stockpiles, those POPs as we call them. And so in 2014/15 we began the disposal of those chemicals; at the end in 2016 we succeeded in disposing in France over forty two tons or so of those types of organic pollutants chemicals but while we were doing the disposal aspects we began updating our national action plan as you call it to look at the new types of chemicals that are in the world today being used on a daily basis and so we began doing and inventory reassessment with the view of having another action plan to see how we can address these new types of chemicals that are coming into the market.”

Reporter

What type of pollutants are talking about and how does it affect the air or environment?”

Martin Alegria – Chief Environmental Officer

“Yeah chemicals are subdivided into various components. The major ones we have found in Belize are agro chemicals, pesticides being one of the major ones, but also we have had other types of chemicals being used for health related issues. I think you are familiar with DDT that was used for Malaria control years ago decades. We had some stockpiled I think its twenty five tons that was there not being used because we found alternatives but they needed to be disposed of because they are persistent, they live in our water and growing on our land for hundreds of years so those are two examples.”

Alegria said that often times indoor chemicals are abused and advised the public to follow the instruction on the product when using it.

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