The Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA) has concluded a two day trainer of trainer’s workshop on the implementation of the Stockholm Convention on pesticides.
EPA Focal Person Mr. Henry O. Williams
The convention seeks to limit pollution by pesticides across the world. Pesticides are chemical substances that possess certain toxic properties which are very harmful for human health and the environment.
In an exclusive interview with this paper recently at the close of the workshop, EPA focal person to the convention Mr. Henry O. Williams said that the workshop was intended to build the capacity of Inspectors on Environmentally sound management of Persistent Organic Pollutant (POPs) in Liberia. He said pollution caused by these POPs is a cross-border problem which makes international action against POPs very crucial.
“Liberia declared membership with the convention in 2003 but was satisfied in 2006 as a full member of the convention, “he said.
Mr. Williams added that the convention has listed about 22 chemicals, some of which is very dangerous to human health. The EPA focal person further disclosed that some of these deadly chemicals are found here in Liberia, stressing “these chemicals can destroy our skin, eyes, as well as our reproductive system if not handle properly.”
He, however called on inspectors in Liberia to always wear safety gears when inspecting chemicals in the field. He said due to the harmfulness of some pesticides, there was a great need to create a nationwide awareness on the danger of pesticides and to also take measures that would help to mitigate the harmful effects of Pesticide in Liberia.
At the same time, Mr. Williams is calling on journalists in Liberia to rally around the EPA so as to get actively involved in the eradication of these harmful pesticides in the country.
“We want the media to get actively involved in the process, to help us create awareness on the harmful use of these pesticides nationwide,” he noted.
He thanked the participants of the workshop for putting forth meaningful contributions that could lead to the control of the usage of pesticides. For his part Mr. Jerry Toei, who served as one of the facilitators during the training, urged participants to beware of chemicals which are toxic to human and the environment.
He said exposure to these chemicals sometime cause skin cancer, and sometime create visual problem. Meanwhile Mr. Toei has frowned on those in the habit of burning trash openly.
“The burning of residential waste materials, such as paper, plastics, and household trash, in an open fireplace, can result in many harmful public health and environmental effects,” he said.
Also speaking, participants at the workshop thanked the EPA for the training and promised to disseminate the information across the country. The workshop was attended by several inspectors from the EPA, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Commerce Minister, Ministry of Agriculture as well as the National Port Authority among others.