Chemical Management in Seychelles

With the growth in industry in Seychelles, chemicals have become more and more prominent in everyday activities, thus requiring an increasing level of knowledge in their management. Chemicals have become widely known and used in the past couple of years and with that an increase in the risks related both to the environment and public health in general. It is important to understand any chemical before it is released into the environment.

The composition of any chemical will dictate what will be released upon expiration and decomposition and it is very important therefore to locate the right place for its disposal after use. There are various categories of chemicals being used in Seychelles namely: petroleum and allied products, pesticides, cleaning agents, heavy industry related chemicals and food processing related industry.

The following bodies are responsible for the management of chemicals in Seychelles:

The Standards and Enforcement Section of the Environment Department is mandated to ensure that no harmful chemicals are discharged into the environment:

The Landscape and Waste Management Agency (LWMA) deals with the disposal of waste in all forms including: liquid, solid and gas.

The government has put in place a committee called the 'Pesticide Board' comprising members from various other ministries including: Ministry responsible for Environment, Ministry responsible for Agriculture and Ministry of Health, which deals with the management of pesticides in general.

The Seychelles Bureau of Standards is responsible for ensuring the safety of chemicals entering the country. Each of the mentioned ministries and organizations possess laws and regulations which are implemented daily in order to manage these chemicals.

Law

Agency

Area of Regulation

Public Health Act

Ministry of Health

Safe use of chemicals

Pesticide Act

Government

Safe use of chemicals

Health and Safety Regulations

Ministry of Health

Health and Safety Act

Ministry of Health

Management of Chemicals

Environment Protection Act

Landscape and Waste Management Agency

Chemical and Waste Disposal

Pesticides are developed to assist with the control of pests and to enhance the productivity of the physical environment. These products, when used as instructed, can limit the number of harmful pests, i.e. insects, rodents, fungi etc, and improve crop yields. But if not used as instructed pesticides can pose a serious threat to health and the natural environment including the crops they are intended to protect. Such mismanagement can result in residual pesticide accumulations in the environment, rendering the soil infertile and causing high toxicity levels in the blood of humans and livestock, both resulting in irreversible damage. Because of these side effects it is important that proper precautions are taken when using and storing pesticides.

Chemical Management in Seychelles involves:

Labelling and safety information

Manufacture labelling provides basic information to individual pesticides. In Seychelles the recognized labelling system requires the following information to be listed on the label:

• active ingredients
• concentration
• toxicity
• formulation and expiry dates
• dosage
• appropriate symbols and pictograms
• written instructions

Hazards and Personal Safety Equipment (PSE):

Part of responsible management is ensuring the appropriate PSE by all persons involved with the handling of hazardous products. The need is reinforced by the fact that accidental poisonings usually occur when Personal Safety Equipment is not used during handling.

Emergency Management and Spills

An important first step in dealing with spills is to have a plan of action in place with the necessary response equipment in close proximity. Spills must be dealt with immediately to minimize damage. If a spill occurs which cannot be dealt with by the personnel on site, it should be reported immediately to the proper agencies.

Disposal

Knowing how to deal with old expired pesticide/chemical stocks requires the assistance of a qualified person who can advise on the proper means of dealing with these products. No expired chemical should ever be disposed of in Seychelles unless the health and safety of all inhabitants and the environment can be guaranteed. Owing to the fact that Seychelles is not fully equipped to deal with 'hazardous waste', chemicals falling into that category are exported to countries like Reunion for proper disposal. Other types of waste which are not necessarily hazardous but need proper treatment are incinerated, after which the ash is deposited in a designated landfill.

Public Education

Passing on information to members of the public regarding chemical management is an important way of ensuring safe use of these chemicals. The more people know about the risks and dangers surrounding mismanagement of chemicals, the more care will be invested in using them. Sensitization is done for all ages starting with school children right through to employees. The Pesticide Board in Seychelles is responsible for distributing information to members of the public who use chemicals.

Gaps in Chemical Management

Information exchange remains one of the priorities in chemical management around the world, and Seychelles is not an exception. It is vital that people have access to the right information so that they can make proper use of chemicals without causing adverse effects to the environment and public health. The government of Seychelles is working on information sharing and dissemination especially to members of the public in an effort to better manage chemicals.