“Celebrating 25 Years of Environmental Sustainability: Protecting, Educating and Developing Together”
The Department of the Environment (DOE) is executing the project entitled “Belize Chemicals and Waste Management (BCWM) Project”, wherein one of the goals is the management and disposal of existing stockpiles of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), obsolete pesticides and other chemicals. This is to enable Belize to fulfill its Obligations under the Stockholm Convention on POPs. To assist in achieving this goal, the Project Management Unit (PMU) of the BCWM Project has recently organized a two-day training on chemicals management, with emphasis on the application of the Basel Convention on the Control of transboundary movement of hazardous waste, packaging, safe handling and transportation of hazardous chemicals.
In keeping with the training momentum, the DOE had an opening for it’s training on Thursday of last week at the Best Western Plus Belize Biltmore Plaza, located in Belize City. The practical training for the disposal of wastes was also held last Friday during a half day session in Central Farm, Cayo.
Belize signed the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in 2002 as a commitment to the management of POPs, as stipulated in the convention. Belize conducted a POPS inventory and developed a National Implementation Plan (NIP) during the period 2006 – 2008, at which time there were only twelve (12) established and known POPs, mainly classified as pesticides. Subsequent to a National Priority Assessment on chemicals management, the NIP of 2008 identified five (5) strategies in addressing these priorities; each strategy composed of various action plans and specific projects to address chemicals management in Belize. These strategies involve the coordination of the NIP implementation, and action plans for the management and phase-out of POPs pesticides, PVBs, dioxin and furans releases as well DDT.
Since 2011, Belize has developed and implemented several projects to address these priority areas identified by the NIP. However, under Article 7 of the Stockholm Convention, each Party has an obligation to develop, review and update their National Implementation Plans (NIPs) in a manner consistent with the needs and priorities of the Party and resources available to the Party.
To assist countries in this, the BCRC-Caribbean and the United Nations Industrial Development Organizations (UNIDO), in consultation with Caribbean National Focal Points for the Stockholm Convention, developed a regional project entitled: ‘Development and Implementation of a Sustainable Management Mechanism for POPs in the Caribbean’ that was approved as a full-sized project by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in May of 2015. The BCRC-Caribbean is the executing agency for this Global Environment Facility (GEF#5558) funded project.
A major output of this full-size project is to have the 8 beneficiary countries update their NIPs and POPs inventory. In so doing, the BCRC-Caribbean has retained the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to provide technical services for the update of the POPs Inventories of the NIPs.
The NIP outlines a number of priority interventions, which has led to several POPs initiatives, including the “Removal of POPs from the environment of Belize”. Accomplishment of the objective of this initiative will require the collection, transport and destruction of POPs existing in Belize. As Belize has no current capacity to implement the destruction of POPs chemicals and wastes, the destruction phase must be completed at a foreign location. As Belize is a signatory to the Stockholm, Basel, Rotterdam and other relevant international conventions, the collection, transport and destruction must be carried out under procedures and using technologies that are recognized, proven and certifiable under the guidelines of these relevant conventions.
The POPs chemicals and wastes in Belize have been collected and stored at secure locations within Belize. Laboratory and other testing have established the quantity and types of POPs and POPs chemicals (DDT, PCB contaminated oil, Aldrin, Dieldrin, Endosulfan), obsolete pesticides, unknown chemicals and ODS/GWP refrigerant gases.