The National Environment Agency (NEA) on Wednesday held a daylong training for National Assembly members on environmentally sound management of chemicals particularly persistent organic pollutants.
Speaking at the event, the acting executive director of NEA, Momodou Jama Suwareh, reminded the participants that The Gambia has enacted the Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides Control and Management Act since 1994 to regulate the manufacture, importation, transportation, use and disposal of chemicals in the country.
He added that The Gambia government under the leadership of His Excellency the President as the chairman of the National Environment Management Council has clearly demonstrated the political will to enhance and develop the sense of ownership in environmental management and sustainable development.
“The adoption of the Environment Impact Assessment as a policy of development and the anti-littering regulations, the ban on plastics bags order, the recent ratification of the Mercury Convention and IAEA are cases in point,” he said.
He added that The Gambia as a country has shown real commitment to the protection of the environment as a key part of sustainable development. “Having The Gambia Environment Action Plan (GEAP) in place, the instrument continues to provide the framework within which the environment can be planned for and managed in a continuous sound and sustainable manner.”
He added that The Gambia government through the National Environment Agency is in partnership with development partners such as the Global Environment Facility (GEF) which is the source of funding for this awareness raising, but implemented by UNEP through the Green Cross at Basel Regional Centre.
Jama Suwareh added that The Gambia is a predominantly agricultural country and depends heavily on pesticides and plant growth regulators to enhance agricultural productivity, noting that pesticides are equally heavily used in the public sector to control arthropod vectors of human diseases. “Considering the vulnerability of a population with a low level of awareness, The Gambia has recognised the need and has over the years taken steps towards the development of an institutional framework for the sound management of chemicals to support a growing industrial and agricultural sector,” he added.
by Amie Susso