Bahrain has a tight policy when it comes to managing the use,
disposal and trading in polluting chemicals but still needs funding
to the tune of nearly $350,000 to fully implement the Stockholm
Convention for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) which the
Kingdom signed two years ago, said Dr Afaf Al Sho'ala, director
of environmental control at Environmental Affairs.
She was speaking on the sidelines of the five-day UN Environment
Programme (UNEP) regional workshop on National Action Plans under
the Stockholm Convention with emphasis on dioxins, furans and
PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls).
The workshop is being conducted by the UNEP chemicals unit in
Geneva in co-ordination with UNEP's regional office for west Asia,
and 35 delegates from different Arab countries are attending it.
It is under the patronage of Governor of Southern Governorate
and chairman of the Public Commission for the Protection of Marine
Resources, Environment and Wildlife Shaikh Abdullah bin Hamad
"Developing countries that are signatories to the Stockholm
Convention do have access to some funding help, and when Bahrain
signed the convention, we brought in an UNEP expert who worked
with the stakeholders and assessed that we'd need nearly $350,000
to completely implement the regulations," Dr Al-Sho'ala said.
"Despite the fact that the funding hasn't yet been sanctioned
by the authorities, Bahrain has made considerable progress in
working to streamline the management of chemical pollutants."For
instance, in 2001, we helped move a ministerial order on the management
of health-care waste and got the Salmaniya Medical Centre incinerator
removed from Salmaniya premises since it was in the middle of
a residential area. This was part of our efforts to implement
stringent dioxin and furan limits. These are emitted when waste
Bahrain has strict regulations to prevent the unauthorised importation
of chlorinated pesticides, and in the list of 127 chemicals banned
in Bahrain are the 12 most dangerous POPs targetted for phasing
out and management by the Stockholm Convention.
Delegates were welcomed by Dr Ismael Al Madany of the Public
Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment
and Wildlife, who said Bahrain recognised the danger of chemical
pollution and was ready to co-operate with the world to curb the
use and careless disposal of such chemicals.
UNEP's Dr Habib Al Habr said the workshop was part of UN programme
efforts to help nations cope with the growing list of dangerous
chemicals added to at the rate of 1,500 a day globally and about
which barely 5 per cent of information was available. "We're
concerned about the management and trade of these chemicals, many
of which are already banned in developed countries but which continue
to show up in big quantities in the developing world."
Topics to be grappled with include the overview and requirements
in the action plan, social and economic issues related to POPs
and registration of chemicals used, inventory control, options
for domestic disposal, export, local management of equipment,
best environment practices and best available techniques.