The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun an exercise to identify preliminary gaps leading to the development of a sustainable inventory of hazardous and other wastes entering Liberia. The EPA, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) recently ended a one-day inception workshop under the Basel Convention on hazardous waste in the capital, Monrovia.
The workshop discussed several topics, including hazardous waste classification under the Basel Convention, Assessment of Liberia’s Legal and institutional framework for implementation and compliance. An EPA official, Randall Dobayou, told the Daily Observer that the initiative was intended to assess Liberia’s legal and institutional framework.
The Basel Convention involves the control of transboundary movement of hazardous waste and their disposal and was adopted on 22nd of March 1989 by the conference of plenipotentiaries in Basel, Switzerland, according to the United Nations Environmental Facility.
It was in response to a public outcry following the discovery, in the 1980s, in Africa and other parts of the developing world, of deposits of toxic waste imported from abroad.
In a special message delivered at the start of the workshop, the Country Director of United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Dr. Pa Lamin Beyai spoke of the need for Liberia to create more awareness on the dangers of hazardous wastes.
Dr. Beyai indicated that when environmental awareness on hazardous waste is weak and regulations are lacking, some organizations take advantage of the situation to seek cheap disposal options of hazardous wastes.
“Putting in place a regulatory framework to properly monitor waste in Liberia is keen in the implementation of the Basel Convention,” Dr. Beyai said. Dr. Beyai called for a robust awareness strategy to be adopted in order to inform the public on hazardous wastes.
He said to be able to accomplish this aim, everyone has a stake in the process. He pledged the UNDP’s support to the EPA and the Government of Liberia (GoL) to help them achieve their objective of the Basel Convention.
Providing an overview of the workshop, Basel Focal Person and Assistant EPA Manager for Planning and Policy, Jefferson Nyandibo, said the overarching objective of the Basel Convention is to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes.
Mr. Nyandibo intimated that the inception workshop will put in place necessary formalities to conduct an inventory on hazardous wastes entering Liberia.
Another topic discussed at the just-ended inception workshop was the introduction on the methodological guide to undertake national inventories and present a draft report on standards and procedures under the Basel Convention.
The one-day workshop brought state actors, the private sector and international organizations together, including representatives from the World Bank, UNEP and the European Union (EU).