Hazardous Chemicals & Wastes
Contamination by chemicals is a global issue. While toxic chemicals are found practically in all ecosystems on earth, thus affecting biodiversity, agricultural production or water resources, scientists estimate that everyone today carries within her or his body a large number of chemical contaminants, for which the health impact is not precisely known. At the end of their life, chemicals are recycled or disposed as part of waste. The inappropriate management of such waste (e.g. through open burning) poses negative impacts on human health and the environment.
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
Of all the pollutants released into the environment by human activity, Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are among the most dangerous. POPs are pesticides, industrial chemicals, or unwanted by-products of industrial processes that have been used for decades but have more recently been found to share a number of disturbing characteristics. POPs are highly toxic and long-lasting, and cause an array of adverse effects, including disease and birth defects in humans and animals. Some of the severe health impacts from POPs include cancer, damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems, reproductive disorders, and disruption of the immune system. These synthetic chemicals move everywhere, even through the placental barrier and into the womb, exposing the unborn during the most vulnerable stages of development. POPs do not respect international borders, and are often intergenerational, affecting both adults and their children. POPs can affect people and wildlife even at very low doses. The serious environmental and human health hazards created by these chemicals particularly affect developing countries, where systems and technology for monitoring, tracking, and disposing of them can be weak or nonexistent. SAFE would like to play a catalytic role in elimination and reduction of harmful chemicals and waste by fulfilling the Objectives of Conventions on hazardous chemicals and wastes, including hospital wastes.
The Stockholm Convention; It currently focuses on 21 POPs of immediate concern: pesticides, industrial chemicals, and unintentional byproducts - resulting from combustion and industrial processes and among the most potent cancer-causing chemicals known.
Rotterdam Convention: It promotes shared responsibilities in relation to importation of hazardous chemicals. The convention promotes open exchange of information and calls on exporters of hazardous chemicals to use proper labeling, include directions on safe handling, and inform purchasers of any known restrictions or bans. More details are available at here.
SAFE recommends and advocates country-driven institutional strengthening at the national level, in the context of an integrated approach to address the financing of the sound management of chemicals and wastes, taking into account the national development strategies, plans and priorities for each country, to increase sustainable public institutional capacity for the sound management of chemicals and wastes throughout their life cycle. Institutional strengthening will expectedly facilitate and enable the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions, the Minamata Convention and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management, enhancing the sustainable institutional capacity of Governments to develop, adopt, monitor and enforce policy, legislation and regulation, as well as to gain access to financial and other resources for effective frameworks for the implementation of the Instruments for the sound management of chemicals and wastes throughout their life cycle.