Seychelles considers safe disposal of chemical waste in UNDP project
A UNDP official said that recent fires at the landfill highlight the importance and the urgency of improved waste disposal and management practices. (Seychelles Nation)
Top environmental officials in Seychelles are urging local partners to consider new projects to safely dispose of chemical waste as more than part of their jobs as the outcome is far-reaching.
The Minister of Environment, Flavien Joubert, made the appeal in his address at the official launching of the "Implementing Sustainable Low and Non-Chemical Development in SIDS (ISLANDS)" project at the Savoy Resort and Spa at Beau Vallon on Thursday.
Joubert explained that this is aimed at "protecting not only our own lives but that of the future generations and the environment of the country we love so much."
The five-year project, costing the UNDP and Global Environment Fund (GEF) over $2 million, will mainly aim at tackling hazardous waste and chemicals in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
This will be through strengthening institutional mechanisms and capacity to manage hazardous chemicals and wastes, the development of new chemical and waste legislation and implementing national and regional recycling schemes among others.
"Although Seychelles is not an important importer or manufacturer of these pesticides, we supported the international community in these endeavours and banned the importation of these chemicals in our law," said Joubert.
Seychelles' involvement in the project is part of the Indian Ocean Regional Project that the UNDP is holding in small island seveloping states (SIDS) in the region including the Comoros, Maldives and Mauritius.
The UNDP is funding the regional project for the sum of over $12 million.
Nanette Laure, director general of waste, enforcement and permits, told reporters that "taking part in this UNDP initiative will help the SIDS prevent the future build-up of materials and chemicals entering SIDS that contain POPs and mercury and other harmful chemicals."
"The ultimate objective of the project is to protect human health and the environment from the harmful effects of hazardous chemicals and wastes," she explained.
To note, the GEF ISLANDS Programme also contains global coordination – where other SIDS in the world taking part may share knowledge and experiences across all regions to address the issue of chemicals and wastes.
Seychelles is already a party to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, which are multilateral environmental agreements. They share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and waste.
It is estimated that 50,000 tonnes of waste are generated in Seychelles annually.
"The recent fires at the landfill highlight the importance and the urgency for improved waste disposal and management practices," said a UNDP official, Ndeye Maty Cisse, further cementing the reasons for the project.