Chemicals can be termed as any substance consisting of matter, including solid, liquid or gas. It can also be any pure substance (an element) or any mixture (a solution, compound or gas).
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. They pose unacceptable risk to human health and are listed under the Stockholm Convention on POPs for severe restriction and eventual elimination.
Some are also unintentionally produced organic pollutants (UPOPs). Examples of UPOPs are dioxins and furans. They are priority chemicals because of their serious negative impact to human health and environment. They 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.
Therefore open burning of waste should be discouraged to minimize emissions of UPOPs through application of best available techniques and best environmental practices.
In addressing the above, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry is implementing the Sound Chemicals Management, Mainstreaming & UPOPs Reduction Project in Kenya.
The project intends to:
- To protect human health and the environment by managing the risks posed by production, use, import and export of chemicals, and reducing and preventing the release of UPOPs and toxic compounds originating from the burning of health care and municipal waste. These are among the highest priorities in the Kenya National Implementation Plan (KNIP) for the Stockholm Convention (SC) on persistent organic pollutants.
- In regard to Health Care Waste Management, the project is adopting 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 SC compliant equipment and practices.
- For Municipal waste the project is reinforcing the 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) economy by enhancing their upstream collection, and securing access to national market
The project is national for the sound management of chemicals and policy guidance for all waste. It is implemented in the counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and Kisumu.
Project Organization Structure
The project has been financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) acts as the GEF Implementing Agency 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). Other partners include, Ministry of Health, National Environment Management Authority, (NEMA), Water Resources Authority (WRA), Counties, the University of Nairobi, Greenbelt Movement (GBM), and Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) among others.
Policies strategies and regulations on chemicals management
Capacity building in selected chemicals institutions
- A monitoring protocol for toxic substances in the environment
- A pollutant Release and Transfer Register
- Revised guidelines for health care waste in line with WHO I-RAT blue book
- Training on HCWM in 13 selected health care facilities
- Demonstration projects in selected health care facilities
- Awareness creation on the risks of open burning of waste
- Initiatives to stop open burning of municipal waste
- Promoting linkages between human health and environment caused by chemicals and waste management.