Laos still faces chemical management issues
Laos is currently facing a variety of chemical management issues due to a shortage of a full set of regulations, adequate knowledge, the proper equipment and a satisfactory budget.
At the 11th Regional Chemicals Management Forum held yesterday in Vientiane, Deputy Director General of the Industry and Handicrafts Department under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Mr Somphong Soulivanh said that currently in the region and in the international arena, the management of chemicals was very important.
According to experts, the government must focus on the industry, agriculture, health and mining sectors in order to ensure that the use of chemicals and business activities in relation to chemicals were sustainable.
Currently Laos faces a problem relating to the importation and use of chemicals as well as the disposal and treatment of dangerous chemical waste because the country does not yet have a full set of regulations and appropriate staff does not have the adequate knowledge to deal with the issues.
“We lack equipment to control, we lack a budget to disseminate laws and regulations, disseminate information and create awareness to business people carrying out business relating to chemicals, and to users and transporters regarding maintenance, disposal, treatment and other things.” Mr Somphong suggested.
“This issue must be resolved quickly otherwise it may affect livelihoods and the environment,” he added.
Mr Somphong suggests that in the past many accidents occurred in relation to the vehicles used to transport chemicals, the leakage of chemicals and chemical residues from agricultural production, mining and others.
The implementation of international conventions, to which Laos is a party, are not yet well implemented, the collection of chemicals statistics is not accurate, there is no premise for the treatment and disposal of dangerous chemical waste and other dangerous waste and therefore such waste are treated together with regular waste from the communities.
Because of these issues the government has assigned the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to coordinate with other relevant sectors in the drafting of a ‘Law on Chemicals'.
“A draft law was passed by the 96 percent of the members of the National Assembly VIII legislature in November 2016 and has been adopted by the National Assembly and the president of the Laos during this time.” Mr Somphong said.
The forum is being held from February 21-23 and a representative of the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok's Development Cooperation Section, Ms Louise Herrmann, as well as representatives from the lower Mekong countries, Bhutan, China and Sweden.
This forum focuses on many important topics such as the management of mercury and cooperation in the management of chemicals in the future and other topics and will be a good opportunity to exchange experiences in the management of chemicals and to learn from the experiences of experts from international organisations.
Another hopeful outcome should be that the management of chemicals in the region will be more unified and will move in the same direction to ensure that there is no impact on health, the environment and social stability.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update February 22, 2017)