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POPs: Kenya late on implementation plans

Persistent Organic Particles, implementation plans, DDT

Kenya launched her National Implementation plan submitted pursuant to Article 7(b) of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Particles last week.

But the plan comes four months late when it should have been submitted at the Convention headquarters in Stockholm. Instead, the country now says this will be done in May during the Conference of Parties to the Convention in Dakar, Senegal between April 30 to May 4.

According to the convention, Kenya should have submitted the NIP on December 23, 2006.

Instead, the government has just completed the document. But Kenya is not alone in the region. In East Africa, only Tanzania, Ethiopia and Burundi have.

In accordance with paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Stockholm Convention, each Party develops and endeavors to implement a plan for the implementation of its obligations under the Convention and to transmit its plan to the Conference of the Parties within two years of the date on which the Convention enters into force for it.

Financing for eligible countries to develop these plans is available through the Global Environment Facility.

Although Kenya does not unintentionally produce furans and dioxide, two of nine banned persistent Organic Pesticides under the Stockholm Convention, yet, open burning of wastes continues to ensure that these POPs are emitted within the environment.

To help curb this, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, James Ole Kiyapi, the government plans to impose stiffer regulations to end open burning of wastes through a five-year national implementation plan estimated to cost Sh2.7 billion and launched last week.

”Open burning of waste is the single most important source of dioxins in Kenya”, says the PS.

The PS said that a fort night ago, the government had launched national regulations to manage production, transporting, handling, and disposing waste generated at domestic and national levels.

The regulations are expected to be in force in April 1.

The government is reacting to a survey carried out on persistent organic pollutants, targeting dioxins and furans, identified at open waste burning sites.

They are suspected to be one of the largest sources of air pollution and with respect major causes of respiratory ailments and eye infections. These diseases are said by medical specialists as being on the increase.

The launched NIP seeks to introduce Best Available Technologies (BAT) and Best Environmental Practices (BEP) for sources.

The document will especially address the problem of biomass burning in residential houses mainly in the rural areas where fuel is said to generate many toxic air pollutants.

According to the PS, typical kitchen in residential homes emit smoke of up to 5,000Kg per cubic metres when they ban biomass fuel.

He said it is challenging to manage air pollution to protect human health and the environment.

The National Implementation Plan for Kenya pursuant to the Provisions of the Convention seeks to eliminate production and use of nine pesticides/ industrial chemical and two unintentionally produced POPs.

Priority areas for the NIP are capacity building, disposal of wastes, mobilizing financial resources, and development of policy and legal instruments to regulate POPs

Further, the NIP says that disposal of PCBs, the search for alternatives to DDT and awareness creation to the larger community was paramount.

The NIP suggests that there be introduction of best available technologies and best environmental practices as well as labeling of transformers containing 50 ppm PCBs be put in place.

The NIP will be supported by policy guidelines and regulatory requirements for all enterprises and entities that are subject to compulsory environmental audits and environmental impact assessments.

The implementation process will provide practical measures to facilitate an integrated national approach to the management of chemicals and wastes in all sectors of national development by supporting those institutions involved in the production, use, export and import of POPs as well as those involved in waste treatment, waste disposal and environmental monitoring.

The implementation of the NIP will be coordinated by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources with a coordination unit being established within the National Environment and Management Authority.

The government estimates one-time costs of eliminating stocks of obsolete pesticides and wastes contaminated with PCBs, which includes the disposal of wastes containing plastics that would otherwise be burnt in the open to be Sh720 million (USD10 million).

Kenya ratified the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants on September 24, 2004.

The Stockholm Convention on POPs is a global agreement that came into effect on May 17, 2004 with the objective of protecting human health and the environment from POPs.
Published: 2007-04-16
Author: HENRY NEONDO

About the author or the publisher
Am a science journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya. I hold a post-grad diploma in journalism with a background in range management
www.africasciencenews.org

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