Best environmental techniques and practices of sound chemicals management under the spotlight at Stockholm Convention Meeting
Regional capacity-building training on Best Available Techniques and Best Environmental Practices (BAT and BEP) and the Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) is being held this week in a move to strengthen awareness raising initiatives under the chemicals agenda.
Support will be provided to national delegates from various English-speaking countries in Africa that are parties to the Stockholm Convention on POPs. The five-day training session will target BAT and BEP to minimize the release of POPs from unintentional production. Consequently, this will increase national capacity to manage POPs waste, polychlorinated biphenyl or PCB oils and contaminated equipment in an environmentally sound manner.
The workshop is designed to increase knowledge of national obligations regarding the unintentional emissions of POPs and the ESM of PCBs and POPs waste under the Stockholm Convention. The workshop will showcase an electronic training tool on the Basel Convention POPs waste guidelines to foster understanding of the concepts, principles and standards of BAT and BEP.
'It is critical to raise awareness about the best means of reducing the risks to human health and the environment posed by these chemicals,' said Dr. Donald Cooper, Executive Secretary of the Stockholm Convention Secretariat on POPs. Dr. Cooper continued, 'Sharing best practices and techniques is one effective means of achieving this objective. POPs are chemicals that do not degrade easily; they can cause cancers and other long-term illnesses; they accumulate in the fatty tissues of animals and humans and travel across the environment to locations far from their release.'
POPs are released in combustion during industrial activities and the burning of garbage and other organic wastes and PCBs are oily chemicals used in the electrical industry in transformers and capacitors to reduce heat transfer. These toxic chemicals have a serious and long-term impact on human health and the environment.
A total of 47 representatives from 24 English-speaking African countries will participate in the regional workshop, which takes place from 15 to 19 June 2009 at the United Nations Environment Programme Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.