ICCA, UNEP join to promote safe chemicals management in Africa

03 June 2013 15:28  [Source: ICIS news]

LINZ (ICIS)--The International Council of Chemicals Associations (ICCA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on Monday launched a joint project focused on the safe transport and storage of chemicals in Africa.

A two-day workshop, to be held 3-4 June at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, marks the official launch of the project, which also looks at emergency prevention, preparedness and responses to chemical accidents in the region.

The project work will be aimed at sharing best practice and identifying current emergency management practices and plans in the two harbours: the port of Mombasa in Kenya and the port of Tema in Ghana.

Kenya is a transit state for the east African community and central African republics, with the port of Mombasa providing an entry point for chemicals destined for landlocked countries including Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

The port of Tema serves the community of landlocked countries in west Africa, the two groups said.

“Warehousing and cross-border road transportation of chemicals are among the key concerns in Africa related to chemicals management,” said Desta Mebratu, deputy director of UNEP’s regional office for Africa.

“Frequently, the available infrastructure for emergency response is ineffective, and emergency prevention and preparedness skills are often limited. We hope by highlighting best practices in these workshops that we can help change that,” he added.

In a joint statement the groups said there have been frequent accidents involving trucks that carry chemicals and hydrocarbons, many occurring on the Mombasa-Malaba roads.

They added this is becoming an increasingly pressing problem given predictions that estimate growth of 40% in the African chemical industry by 2020, as indicated by the Global Chemicals Outlook published by the UNEP in 2012.

Hubert Mandery, ICCA council secretary, said: “UNEP and ICCA have joined forces to increase support for review of emergency preparedness plans at selected port areas. By holding the workshops and emergency exercise, we aim to raise awareness of chemical safety, of transport and storage and ultimately to strengthen sound chemicals management in developing countries.”

The project outcomes will be gathered and shared with the region through a workshop and a publication, the UNEP and ICCA said.

By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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