GHS strategic implementation confab ends

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A one-day National Review Workshop on road map and resolutions for strategic implementation at the Globally Harmonised System (GHS), by the year 2008, yesterday ended at the Atlantic Hotel in Banjul.

In his remarks, Momodou B. Sarr, Executive Director of the National Environment Agency (NRA), said “the chemicals, through different steps- from the production of their handling, transportation and use, pose a real danger to human health and the environment people of all ages”. “It is consequently assumed that once countries have consistent and appropriate information on the chemicals they import or produce in their own countries, the infrastructure to both control harmful chemical exposure, and to protect people and the environment, would be established in a comprehensive and coordinated manner”, he revealed.

According to him, the new system, called Globally Harmonised System of classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS), addresses classification harmonised harzard communication elements, including labels and safety date sheets.

“It aims at ensuring that information on physical hazards and toxicity from chemical be made available in a manner that would enhance the protection of human health and the environment during the handling, transportation and use of these chemicals. 

The GHS also provides a basis for harmonisation of rules and regulations on chemicals at national, regional and global levels, which is also an important factor for trade promotion between nations,” he noted.

He further said the GHS Action Plan for The Gambia was completed in August 2007.

The need for a stringent legal and institutional framework is therefore evident. In The Gambia, the hazardous chemicals and pesticides control and management Act and its provide the legal framework for the management of chemicals and pesticides, whose custodian is the National Environment Agency.

For his part, Mr Momodou B.S Conteh, said the Globally Harmonised System (GHS) of classification and labelling of the chemicals is a new international tool that can be effectively used as a basis in developing comprehensive National Chemical Safety Programmes.

“The Gambia does not manufacture or formulate chemical compounds. However, we  import these products, ranging from agricultural to consumer chemicals, to meet the challenges faced by rapid population growth and ensuing negative trends in living conditions,” he revealed.

According to Mr Conteh, recognising the vulnerability of our population with a low level of awareness, through collaboration with partners, has over the years taken courageous steps towards the development of an institutional framework for the sound management of chemicals.

Author: Written by Njira Bn Corr
Source: The Daily Observer Newspaper