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Saint Lucia Launches Effective Chemical Management Programme

 


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Contact:  Jacques Hinkson-Compton

 

 

Thursday 17 May 2012   The increase in the use of chemicals globally, and especially in Saint Lucia has led the government to respond by officially launching QSP (Quick Start Programme) Saint Lucia, to  introduce protocols in effective chemical management.

The QSP Trust Fund was established by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) to facilitate policies within developing countries for effective chemical management. QSP has aided several countries in developing adequate protocols in this area.

 

Specifically, the objective of the programme is to minimise the potential for disastrous consequences associated with the usage, handling, transport and most importantly the disposal of hazardous and toxic chemicals on the island. Through the use of adequate policy and regulation the project should improve understanding within relevant areas of the public and private sectors on chemical use and management, improve handling and storage of chemicals and pesticides. The project will also see to improving the capacity for the safe disposal and treatment of chemical waste and to dispose of seven metric tons of obsolete pesticides and chemical waste.

 

At the launch, the Project Coordinator, Craig Henry noted the dangers of ineffective management and the threats that Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) pose to environmental and human existence. According to Henry  POPs are a set of identified chemical substances which are shown to be deleterious to human and environmental health and these substances are harmful because they are not readily soluble in water but more so in human fat and tissue so therefore they accumulate there and can accumulate at high concentrations and they can be transferred through the food chain or food web from one vector to the next through natural processes.      Henry noted that research links the POPs to defective conditions in animals such as infertility, hormonal imbalances, cancer and other conditions initiating 'debilitating effects' on the bodies of animals.

 

In light of the negative effects of inefficient chemical management the project hopes to train port staff and import retailers in the safe handling and transport of chemicals, train medical personnel for the proper diagnosis and treatment of chemical poisoning, develop and update the national chemical profiles in schools, private laboratories and health care facilities, update the national environment management strategy and raise public awareness within various communities.

 

Educating farmers will be a priority objective as they are noted as being the largest users of pesticides and other hazardous chemicals.


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