Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, has stated that sound management of chemicals and waste is central to achieving the three pillars of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals such as social, economic and environment.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng said effective management of chemicals and waste addresses SDG three, which focuses on good health and well-being and goal 12, aiming to achieve environmentally sound management of chemicals and wastes.
The Minister said this at an Inception Workshop for Special Programme organised by the Environmental Protection Agency in Accra and supported by the United Nations Minamata Convention Environment on Mercury.
The theme for the event is “Strengthening Institutional Capacity for the Sustainable Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste throughout their Life-Cycle and the Effective Implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm and Minamata Conventions and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) in Ghana”.
The SAICM is a policy framework in combination with other chemicals and wastes related multilateral environmental agreements that seek to promote chemical safety across the world.
He said the country needed innovative approaches to meet the SDGs, adding that one of such approaches was the application of the concept of sustainable chemistry.
“Ghana is partnering countries like Germany in advancing the concept of sustainable chemistry for the sound management of chemicals and hazardous waste and the attainment of the SDGs”, he added.
He said the country’s approach was the substitution of problematic chemicals such as Persistent Organic Pollutants through the development of appropriate criteria and protocols for the selection and the use of environmentally friendly chemicals for use in industry.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng stressed that another approach was the application of contemporary risk assessment methodologies, including the implementation of the Globally Harmonised System of classification and labelling.
He said countries in the Economic Community of West Africa States bloc were addressing issues on chemicals and hazardous wastes, adding that a Ministerial meeting was held in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire in 2017 to validate regional strategies and an integrated action plan on chemicals and hazardous waste management.
The Minister said government would continue to provide the necessary support to national institutions, especially the EPA, that to manage chemicals and waste to protect the public from adverse effects of hazardous substances.
Mr John Pwamang, the Acting Executive Director, EPA was of the view that the diversity and potential severity of chemical risks make sound chemicals management a key cross-cutting issue for sustainable development.
He said it was imperative for all stakeholders, especially agencies that used chemicals to mainstream sound management of chemicals issues in their programmes to ensure sustainable development.