NAIROBI, March 11 (Xinhua) — Urgent action is needed to tackle global chemical pollution as countries are yet to meet the internationally agreed goal to minimize the adverse impacts of chemicals and waste by 2020, said a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report released on Monday.
According to the Second Global Chemical Outlook, global chemical production capacity currently stands at 2.3 billion tons valued at approximately 500 trillion shillings (5 trillion U.S. dollars).
The report indicated that despite commitments to maximize the benefits and minimize the impacts of this industry, hazardous chemicals continue to be released to the environment in large quantities and have become ubiquitous in air, water and soil, food and humans.
The findings recommend that the world take advantage of the many solutions that already exist.
“Whether the growth in chemicals becomes a net positive or a net negative for humanity depends on how we manage the chemicals challenge,” said Joyce Msuya, acting executive director of UNEP. “What is clear is that we must do much more, together,” Msuya added.
The survey finds that while international treaties and voluntary instruments have reduced the risks of some chemicals and wastes, progress has been uneven and implementation gaps remain.
The study said that for example, as of 2018, more than 120 countries had not implemented the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals.
According to the findings, the benefits of action to minimize adverse impacts have been estimated to be tens of billions of U.S. dollars annually.
“The findings of the second Global Chemicals Outlook are very important for developing countries,” said David Kapindula, a member of the report’s steering committee, from the Zambia Environmental Management Agency.
“They highlight the uneven implementation of chemicals and waste management and point to opportunities for enhanced knowledge sharing, capacity development and innovative financing,” Kapindula said.