Gov’t Reviews Plan Of Pollutants

The Minister of state for Environment, Hon. Flavia Nabugere has said that Government of Uganda was committed to addressing issues of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) under the Stockholm Convention. These remarks were made during the launch of the project entitled “Enabling Activities to Review and Update the National Implementation Plan (NIP) of the Stockholm Convention (SC) on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)’’ at an inception workshop held at Imperial Royale Hotel Kampala.

POPs are chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of living organisms and are toxic to humans, wildlife and the environment. POPs circulate globally and can cause damage wherever they travel. POPs are currently or were in the past used as pesticides, or produced by humans in industrial processes, either intentionally or as byproducts of some goods or pharmaceuticals. In implementing the Convention, Governments take measures to eliminate or reduce the release of POPs into the environment.

The launch was partly to raise awareness of the project and to get a full understanding of an integrated approach for getting the NIP endorsed and submitted. The integrated approach will involve different steps, activities and assigned responsibilities among government, stakeholders and project participants, including all relevant requirements and timeframe to meet the country’s obligations of the SC.

“We need to support the development of indigenous capacity so as to have home grown affordable interventions or alternatives to deal with POPs. For example we can use lemon grass as a natural insecticide to repel mosquitoes instead of using DDT,” Hon. Munaaba said in her opening remarks. 

The controversial and commonly used anti-malarial insecticide DDT ("dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane") is among the first 12 POPs. Today there are nine new POPs and a group of new chemicals proposed for listing under the convention therefore the review was aimed at updating information on the initial 12 POPs and how to address the new listed POPs.

The POPs project which is coordinated by NEMA is supported by development partners through the United Nation Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Government of Uganda through the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The launch was also attended by a wide range of stakeholders with representatives from government institutions, industry and industrial associations, NGOs, academia, a representative of UNIDO, among others.