Ja­maica getting rid of old pes­ti­cides

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Christo­pher Serju Gleaner Writer

MORE THAN six years after the Food and Agri­cul­tural Or­ga­ni­za­tion (FAO) of the United Na­tions (UN) committed to fund­ing a project to get rid of all ob­so­lete pes­ti­cides in the Caribbean, Ja­maica is mov­ing to ship out two 40-ft con­tain­ers of haz­ardous and toxic chem­i­cals.

The con­tain­ers will be sent to Bri­tain, where they will be de­stroyed.

Stu­art MacInnes, se­nior project man­ager in charge of haz­ardous waste at the Ve­o­lia in­cin­er­a­tor plant in the United King­dom, has spent more than three weeks here su­per­vis­ing the pack­ag­ing and la­belling of the con­tain­ers.

“We don’t ac­cept any­thing at our plant un­less we can ver­ify what the stuff is,” he told The Gleaner. “I’m just here to ba­si­cally su­per­vise the works and to en­sure that ev­ery­thing is done cor­rectly ac­cord­ing to the UN code. They are all la­belled as per the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Dan­ger­ous Goods Code (IMDG), and ba­si­cally, we work un­der th­ese con­di­tions,” the ex­pert ex­plained.

The IMDG is ac­cepted as an in­ter­na­tional guide­line for the safe trans­ship­ment of po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous goods or haz­ardous ma­te­rial by wa­ter.

MacInnes has been work­ing out of the Ag-Chem Plant Limited fa­cil­ity at Hill Run, St

Cather­ine, co­or­di­nat­ing the lo­cal ef­fort, with as­sis­tance from the Min­istry of Health and the Pes­ti­cides Con­trol Au­thor­ity (PCA), whose reg­is­trar, Michael Ram­sey, pointed out the strate­gic im­por­tance of the site.

GOOD RESPONSE

“It was im­por­tant to get a site that al­ready has haz­ardous ma­te­rial and also for which NEPA (Na­tional En­vi­ron­ment and Plan­ning Agency), as the en­vi­ron­men­tal agency, would be happy to give a per­mit. It’s in an area that is not near where many peo­ple live and, there­fore, would not cre­ate a health hazard, pos­si­bly. Also, we try to have

part­ner­ships with dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies in the pes­ti­cides in­dus­try so that not only the pes­ti­cides in­dus­try, but the na­tional in­ter­est, is para­mount.”

The response to the ini­tia­tive was very good, the PCA reg­is­trar dis­closed. The first 40-foot con­tainer with ob­so­lete pes­ti­cides is slated to leave the is­land by month end, with the other due to be shipped out in Novem­ber.

“We have got old pes­ti­cides from around the coun­try from as far away as St El­iz­a­beth and Port­land, and it has all been brought here in one place, ap­proved by NEPA, and we have a chance now to get it out of the coun­try. There is no haz­ardous waste dis­posal fa­cil­ity in Ja­maica, and, there­fore, it has be­come a prob­lem. In fact, we even have stock here that was seized by Cus­toms and some that was aban­doned by the im­porter when they couldn’t get the per­mit to get it through the Cus­toms bar­rier. This is the op­por­tu­nity now to get rid of all of th­ese things when there was no other way of do­ing so.”

PHOTOS BY CHRISTO­PHER SERJU

Michael Ram­say (sec­ond right), reg­is­trar of the Pes­ti­cides Con­trol Au­thor­ity, makes a point to Gra­ham Dunk­ley (third right), gen­eral man­ager of Ag-Chem, as Oneil Sa­muels (right), plant man­ager, walks by, and the fork­lift op­er­a­tor awaits in­struc­tions for load­ing some of the haz­ardous ma­te­rial into a 40-ft con­tainer. They were part of the team over­see­ing Fri­day’s load­ing of the con­tainer at the Ag-Chem plant in Hill Run, St Cather­ine, for ship­ment to Bri­tain.

Stu­art MacInnes speaks about the ver­i­fi­ca­tion process for chem­i­cals go­ing to the plant in Bri­tain.

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