Dr. Leonard Mwangi Gitu, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has been appointed by the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, as a member of the recently established Multisectoral Committee on Sound Chemicals Management (MCSCM).
According to the Principal Secretary, Dr. Chris Kiptoo, in a letter dated, August 30, 2020, “The Ministry is currently implementing a Chemicals Special Program to support institution strengthening at the national level by enhancing the implementation of Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm, Minamata Conventions and Strategic Approach International Chemicals Management (SAICM) that is supported by the UNEP Special Program on Chemicals.”
One of the key outputs for the project is to establish a Multisectoral Committee on Sound Chemicals Management (MCSCM) whose functions include – review of the national policy on sound chemicals management, promote collaboration and partnership among key stakeholders, review and endorse SAICM implementation plan, promote awareness and advocacy on sound chemicals management, coordinate data collection, analysis and information knowledge management, support decision making among the chemical management stakeholders, develop joint multi-sectoral projects and implementation activities.
The appointment of Dr. Gitu follows his nomination by JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi who noted that “JKUAT continues to support initiatives and efforts made by the Government through the ministry to ensure good practices in the chemicals management and environmental conservation.” She also wished Dr. Gitu success in his new role and assignments.
Gitu, a chemistry don, is the current National Chairman, Kenya Chemical Society (KCS) and he was recently nominated as one of the Poster Judges for the virtual Commonwealth Chemistry Posters: Building the Partnership – an event held virtually and organized by the Federation of Commonwealth Chemical Sciences Societies of which KCS is a corporate member.
Dr Gitu has actively participated in several critical events organized by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry including; the drafting of Kenya National Chemicals Policy Workshop (May 2019); Updating the Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm and Minamata Conventions Workshop on Sound Chemicals Management Mainstreaming and UPOPs Reduction Workshop (December 2018); Developing Kenya Chemicals and Waste Roadmap Workshop (July 2018) and Mainstreaming Multi-Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in Universities Curriculum (April 2017).
JKUAT has been a significant player leading to the Ministry’s identification of JKUAT as a key stakeholder in the sound management of chemicals across the value chain.
Dr. Gitu says, “Chemicals use in Kenya plays a critical role in promoting the economy and improving the life, health and well-being of the people across the country. However, handling and storage of chemicals can pose safety and security risks that must be mitigated.”
In order to accomplish the above mandate, the Kenya Chemical Society has taken a lead role and by setting concise targets aimed at promoting chemical safety and security culture in Kenya through collaboration with national and international partners.
As a scientific and professional society for Chemists in Kenya, KCS was registered in 1991 with the overarching objective to promote the advancement of chemical sciences, maintain professional standards among chemists, promote welfare of chemists and chemical safety and security, enhance networking for chemists and allied professions as well as encourage advanced training in chemistry.