#Nassau, July 23, 2019 – Bahamas – The BEST Commission in the Ministry of Environment and Housing and the National Chemicals Coordinating Committee (NCCC) requested participation in a National workshop on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), held at the British Colonial Hilton July 18, 2019. The Workshop aims to inform specific stakeholders in the public and private sector of the pending changes which will impact the way chemicals and certain products are imported into The Bahamas.
The Bahamas is a member country of the Stockholm Convention and under that convention we are required to identify all imports and service providers which import POPs containing products or utilize POPs in the services which they provide. During this workshop, information will be shared on the POPs information system, the intended national capacity for managing these chemicals and discussion on the draft National Implementation Plan (NIP).
The NIP is the document which will identify the way forward for the banning and or phasing out of certain chemicals and products and the document will also identify options for managing these hazardous chemicals. Sectors were encouraged to attend this workshop to ensure that their perspective and concerns are considered during the finalization of this national initiative. The multi-stakholder workshop will include representation from various government agencies, NGO’s and private sector.
It is estimated that there are approximately one hundred thousand chemicals being produced commercially around the world with an additional one thousand five hundred being added each year. The management of these chemicals is a challenge for most developed countries and for countries like The Bahamas the challenge is even greater.
Over the years research has shown that chemicals while initial developed for a beneficial purpose their use throughout the years has also had significant impact on human health and the environment. As a result, there have been a number of Multilateral Environmental Agreements to ensure that we use chemicals to maintain a good standard of living as oppose to having an adverse impact to human health and the environment.
The Bahamas has sort the support of the United Nation community by signing on to The Stockholm Convention, the Strategic Approach to International Chemical Management, The Chemicals Weapons Convention and the Basel Convention. All of which provide financial and technological assistance for dealing with chemical management issues. Recently the issue of Mercury has come to the forefront as a global concern and The Bahamas is looking forward to signing onto the Minamata Convention by the end of this year.
Since April 2019, a National Chemicals Coordinating Committee has been reformulated to execute the mandates of various Chemical Conventions. For 2019 the NCCC is particularly focusing on the Stockholm Convention and it emphasis on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
The National Chemical Coordinating Committee is comprised of representatives from the Bahamas Environment Science and Technology (BEST) Commission, the Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS), the University of The Bahamas, the Department of Agriculture (DoA), Bahamas Power and Light, the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Ministry of Finance (Customs Department) and The Grand Bahama Port Authority, as well as other industry partners.
It should be noted that this project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).