BUJUMBURA March 9th (ABP) – Any manufacturer, user and / or importer of chemicals will henceforth have to seek prior authorization from the Minister of the Environment, it was said on Wednesday March 7, 2018 by the national expert on persistent organic pollutants (POPs), Mr. Jérôme Karimumuryango, during an information workshop on the bill on the management of chemicals.
That bill, which will soon be on the table of the government and parliament, comes to lift some gaps currently found in the management of chemicals, said expert Karimumuryango, adding that it will ensure chemical safety by minimizing the negative effects from those products on human health and the environment. Once promulgated, the Chemicals Management Code will provide some facilities in the management of chemicals through the use of well-defined texts in monitoring and control throughout the entire cycle, said Karimumuryango.
The national expert on POPs has indicated that the code defines, from Article 9 to Article 92, the regulation on import, export, domestic transport, labeling, storage, marketing, production, processing, handling and use of chemicals. For example, he pointed out that anyone wishing to manufacture chemicals, to import them or to transit them through the national territory, will first have to seek authorization within the Ministry to guarantee chemical safety and its effective control.
Mr. Karimumuryango said that the code will allow to control quantitatively and qualitatively the chemicals circulating on Burundian territory, which was not done before. They were transported in passenger vehicles or stored with other products in shops and elsewhere, potentially causing adverse health effects.
Moreover, the lack of lists of those products at the national level and the non-definition of their conservation will now be settled because, said Mr. Karimumuryango, this tool has been designated to ensure a good regulation of those products.
According to him, the code provides in its articles from 110 to 112, administrative sanctions. In the event of operation, transport, marketing and disposal of chemicals, for example, the Minister may suspend the activities of the enterprise or close it, whereas in case of transit, it may interrupt the surgery. That code also provides for a criminal sanction of five to ten years of criminal servitude and a fine of five to ten million Burundian francs, or one of those penalties only, in case of any activity of the cycle of those products without authorization.
The code also provides in Articles 6, 7 and 8 for the establishment of a national management body for those products called the “National Technical Committee for the Management of Chemicals”, said Karimumuryango. The search for that authorization within the Ministry in charge of the Environment does not exclude the authorizations sought from the Ministry in charge of Trade, he however pointed out, indicating that the authorizations will be given simultaneously, according to the field concerned.