UNDP launches million dollar initiative to reduce chemical risks

By Lam Le   April 14, 2016 | 05:09 pm PT
UNDP launches million dollar initiative to reduce chemical risks
A $2.55 million initiative to reduce chemical risks has been launched on April 14 by Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) and the UN Development Program (UNDP).

The initiative funded by the Global Environment Facility aims to better manage harmful chemicals and reduce their environmental and health impacts.

As of 2010, Viet Nam had more than 1,000 contaminated sites, of which almost 300 were obsolete persistent organic pollutant (POP) pesticide stockpiles.

With UNDP support, over 900 tons of POP pesticide have been recently destroyed and 3,000 m2 of contaminated soil contained in safe landfills. However, there remain many contaminated sites that have not been treated thoroughly.

Sound chemical management through its life-cycle from importation, exportation, production, usage, transportation, storage to waste disposal and treatment is a global trend to reduce the release of harmful chemical to environment.

In Viet Nam, strengthening the sound chemical management was identified as one of the important priorities of the Government.

“The implementation of the project – Viet Nam POPs and Sound Harmful Chemicals Management Project (PHCM) – reflects the determination and action of the Government of Viet Nam in protecting the community health and the environment for sustainable development,” said Nguyen Van Tai, General Director of Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA).

According to Bakhodir Burkhanov, UNDP Deputy Country Director, UNDP has been assisting Vietnam in the implementation of the Stockholm Convention since 2005 through supporting the first National Implementation Plan process and a dedicated POP pesticides project. These interventions helped reduce the risks of exposure to thousands of people living around heavily contaminated areas.

“The project being launched today builds on our past support to address the issue of POP pesticide contamination in Viet Nam. It will produce the tools to better manage POPs release in industrial production, help raise public awareness on harmful chemicals and reduce their impact on the environment and human health,” said Burkhanov.

The new project is expected to provide technical support for the development of new regulations and technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of chemicals, especially POPs, PTS and mercury. It is also hoped to help with the management of contaminated sites using the risk management and evaluation approaches that meet the requirements of the international conventions that Viet Nam has joined.

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