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Jul 5, 2012

International Chemical Management

Stakeholders from various private sector industries that use chemicals converged at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza for the launch of Belize’s Strategic Approach to International Chemical Management. It is an initiative by the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development to develop a coherent, legal and institutional framework in Belize, for the sound management of chemicals. Freelance reporter Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

An inception workshop was held today at the Biltmore Plaza in Belize City. It is the launch of phase two of SAICM, the Strategic Approach to International Chemical Management in Belize; that focuses on the use and disposal of chemicals by various industries.


Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Fisheries, Forestry & Sustainable Development

Lisel Alamilla

“SAICM also acknowledges the economic value and role that chemicals play in improving our standard of living, but it also suggests that these be balanced with recognition of potential costs. Consideration must be given to issues such as the chemical industry’s huge water and energy use, and its potentially adverse impacts on human health and the environment. A wide range of potentially severe impacts from irresponsible chemical usage makes sound chemicals management a key cross-cutting issue for sustainable development.”


The initiative’s objective is to develop and adopt measures to reduce and/or eliminate risks to humans and the environment from the release of hazardous chemicals.


Martin Alegria

Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer, Min. of Fisheries, Forestry & Sustainable Development

“The pesticide sector or the agriculture sector is very much under control via the pesticide act and the PCP. However, the pharmaceutical medicines and the industrial chemicals—now that we have a petroleum sector—it is critical that we must address these because of the types of chemicals being used can be considered carcinogenic and other types of hazards attached to it—not only during the use but disposal of it. We are analyzing what is there like I mentioned the three sectors; see what the people in those sectors—see what their suggests are to improve on monitoring and proper management of those chemicals.”


According to Minister of Fisheries, Forestry & Sustainable Development, Lisel Alamilla, while there are some policies in place, there is need for much strengthening of the practices when using chemicals.


Lisel Alamilla

“While existing sector laws could allow for the monitoring and control of the importation and use of chemicals, many gaps exist exacerbated by legislative and institutional fragmentation. Some of the gaps identified were; examples of major gaps identified were: regulations on new substances entering the Belize market; tracking, transport, storage and disposal of imported pesticides and fertilizers—which is also a security risk; import, transport and disposal of petroleum products; storage, transport, distribution, use, handling and disposal of household chemicals; retirement of PCPs and controls on practices that are contributing to dioxins and furans in the environment well above international norms.”


Duane Moody

“Is there anything right now in place when it comes to the disposal of certain chemicals in the country?”


Lisel Alamilla

“As far as I know yes; there are for certain chemicals but it requires a lot of monitoring on behalf of the department of the environment and we do need to monitor that. So there is monitoring and ensuring that they are in compliance; but there is a huge gap that still needs to be filled.”


In phase one of the initiative, four areas of chemical management were prioritized and took immediate effect. Those are: preventing and controlling chemical pollution and waste; enhancing industry sector risk reduction capacity; safely handling and using chemicals such as pesticides and expanding the national emergency plan to include industrial accidents. Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “International Chemical Management”

  1. Storm says:

    So far I’m favourably impressed by Hon. Alamilla. I don’t believe that development and jobs should be stopped to protect the environment at all costs — far from it– but I believe there has to be a reasonable balance, and a steady eye on the future of the Jewel.

    We need good jobs to make life liveable today, and as stewards of the country, we need to pass it on in good condition to our children and future generations.

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