PESTICIDE AWARENESS DAY
27th September 2013
THEME: “STORE WISE SAVE LIVES”
In observance of pesticide awareness day it gives me great pleasure as Minister for Agriculture and Forestry, to join the rest of the Caribbean in promoting the safe use and management of pesticides. This year, the theme “STORE WISE, SAVE LIVES” places emphasis on proper storage of pesticides, all in an effort to enhance occupational health and safety for persons using or are in direct contact with pesticides. It is important to note that when we speak of pesticides we do not refer only to chemicals used in agriculture but to chemicals used in and around the home to control pests such as termites, roaches, ants, flies, mosquitoes and rodents.
As a signatory to international conventions, such as the Rotterdam, Stockholm and Basal Conventions has the government of Dominica has the responsibility to:
• promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among parties in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals in order to protect human health and the environment from potential harm; and
• to contribute to the environmentally sound use of those hazardous chemicals, by facilitating information exchange about their characteristics, by providing for a national decision-making process on their import and export and by disseminating these decisions to parties.
In fulfillment of its obligation to these conventions the government of Dominica manages the importation, proper use and storage of pesticides in Dominica within the provision of the Pesticide Control Act No. 15 of 1974. At present the Board’s main responsibility is the registration and licensing of pesticides as mandated by the Pesticide Control Regulations SRO No. 56 of 1986.
A major activity under the Pesticide Control Act is to monitor the storage, distribution, labeling and use of pesticides in the commonwealth of Dominica. Prior to farm use, pesticides are imported for distribution and stored by local service providers but are handled mostly by their employees. This means that, the risk of exposure to these hazardous chemicals is further heightened for these persons.
The need for proper storage on farms and homes are just as critical or even more so, given the associated risk for farmers, their families, particularly children, farm workers, pets and livestock. In reflection of this year’s Theme “STORE WISE SAVE LIVES” is part of a wider protocol for safe and effective use of pesticides.
But what do we mean by proper storage of pesticides? It involves:
- Storing pesticides away from food and water for both human and animals.
- Ensuring that all pesticides are placed in locked or secured cabinets away from children and non-users. On farms, this may involve the use of metal drums that are appropriately designed for this purpose.
- Keeping pesticides in their original containers with proper labels.
- Rooms or stores are well ventilated to dispel noxious fumes.
- Storing pesticides according to chemical formulation to avoid reactions that may further risk individuals.
- Posting clear indications or signs for storage facilities, cabinets, containers or whatever appropriate means is used.
Pesticide Awareness Week is celebrated from September 23rd - 27th this year, with the 27th being designated as “Pesticide Awareness Day”. On this occasion and at any other time, people must become fully aware of the dangers associated with pesticides, when not managed, handled or stored properly. Therefore in keeping with the theme, “STORE WISE, SAVE LIVES” storing pesticides correctly, contributes to protecting workers health and safety and preventing accidental poisoning of humans and pets, as is sometimes the case. Spillage as a result of improper storage can also harm the environment with serious implications.
In 201, a national inventory of obsolete pesticide inventory was completed. Recently, in August of 2013 the Government of Dominica with support from Global Environmental Facility (GEF) through the Environmental Coordinating Unit (ECU) signed on to a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Project entitled “Disposal of obsolete pesticides including Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), promotion of alternatives and strengthening pesticide management in the Caribbean”. This project seeks to achieve the following :
- Dispose of existing stocks of obsolete pesticides and associated waste.
- Manage empty pesticide containers in Caribbean countries
- Strengthen the regulatory framework and intuitional capacity for sound management of pesticides.
- Promote alternatives to conventional/ chemical pesticides.
During this week the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will involve the public, including farmers and farm workers, students, housewives, traders and their employees and the general public in a number of activities, which includes:
- Continued training of farmers, Extension officers, retailers and pesticide applicators.
- Sensitization of school children on the importance of pesticide safety.
- Radio programs geared at educating the general public on pesticide storage both at home, in retail establishments and on the farm.
- Distribution of promotional material to retail outlets, schools, ports of entry, business places and extension offices.
In closing, it must be recognized that no one individual, government or agency can achieve a chemical or pesticides safe environment; this must come from a concerted involvement of everyone. We must all commit to the efforts of continued economic prosperity while safeguarding the health of our people, animals and our environment. This must be done not only during pesticides awareness week but on a daily basis.
As we reflect on the theme for this year’s observance of Pesticide Awareness Day “STORE WISE, SAVE LIVES” let us examine seriously and collectively, the actions we must take in our households, on our farm, and in pesticide retail outlets to prevent damage to health and loss of human lives or livestock and contamination of the environment, including rivers and importantly, contamination of our food.
I THANK YOU!!!!!!!!