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Chemicals can negatively impact human health if not properly managed – ZEMA

CHEMICALS can negatively impact human health and the environment if not properly managed, says Zambia Environmental Management Agency director operations Gift Sikaundi.

Addressing stakeholders at a consultative workshop on pesticides management aimed at engaging key stakeholders in contributing their views on defining the cooperation agreement between ZEMA and the Swedish Chemical Agency, Sikaundi said sound management of chemicals was a fundamental move that reduces the impact of chemicals on human health and environment.

He said chemicals were the basis of life but must not be left unattended to.

“Chemicals play an important role in our daily lives as they are used in every sector of our economy. They form the basis of life and are the building blocks from which we make our products. However, while chemicals sustain our global economy, they can negatively impact human health and the environment if not properly managed. Sound management of chemicals should there be an integral part of any approach aimed at promoting sustainable development and reducing the impact of chemicals on human health and the environment,” Sikaundi explained.

He noted that efforts made in the past on sound chemical management were insufficient in protecting the environment and health of populations from chemical risks.

Sikaundi said there was a need for the two institutions to collaborate in sound management of chemicals that aimed at protecting human health and the environment.

“However, these efforts are insufficient in protecting the environment and health of populations from chemical risk. The major reason for this linked to inadequate mainstreaming and failure to collaborate and share information that can be used for decision making on issues of health and the environment,” said Sikaundi.

“It is therefore expected to propose specific activities which will be carried out in the course of the project implementation under the said agreement. Your input and support as stakeholders is therefore, highly invaluable and will result in an agreement that has full ownership of all the relevant stakeholders and will ensure that this agreement responds to the challenges that the country faces in various aspect of chemical management.”

And Swedish Chemicals Agency (KEMI) official Lilian Tornkvist said the cooperation agreement would reduce chemical risk on environment and climate.

She said the agreement would attract a total of US$250 million in the four-year period it would be undertaken.

“Swedish strategy for development cooperation with Zambia shall contribute to reduced inequality and strengthened resilience, greater respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law and economic development that is inclusive and sustainable in terms of the environment and climate. The strategy applies for period 2018 – 2022 and encompasses a total of SEK 2250million (US$ 250million),” said Tornkvist.

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