Kenya Society of Chemists (KSC) in collaboration with the College of Pure and Applied Sciences (COPAS) convened a workshop in efforts to raise staff and students’ awareness on proper handling of chemicals, March 11, 2022.
The training comes at a time when the chemical industry has become one of the largest sectors of the world economy as the production of chemicals is increasing at the rate of three to four percent annually.
Speaking during the workshop, the National Chairman, KSC and a Senior Lecturer, Department of Chemistry at JKUAT, Dr. Leonard Gitu said, according to Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) policy, professionals should recognize the importance of investing in improving human health and the environment as an indispensable prerequisite for achieving sustainable development.
“The subject of environmentally sound chemicals management is raised in Chapter nineteen of SAICM policy, as a key element for achieving socially and economically sustainable development at global, regional and national levels,” acknowledged Dr. Gitu.
According to the Don, chemicals should be used and produced in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment.
On his part, Dr. Elijah Ngumba, a Lecturer in the Chemistry Department said, in many developing countries poor people work in close proximity to toxic chemicals. These workers, he said, are often unaware of the high risk that poor working conditions and the lack of safety requirements expose them to.
“In agriculture, for example, poor knowledge of safe pesticide use, excessive use of pesticides, lack of facilities for personal hygiene, and inappropriate storing and disposal conditions lead to human toxic exposure,” observed Dr. Ngumba.
The government, he said should therefore assist in establishing safe and secure workplaces through safeguarding the environment through the reduction of health-related issues due to exposure to chemicals in the population.
“Government should also enhance laboratory services, research for monitoring of pollutants and assessment of alternatives to toxic chemicals,” stated Dr. Ngumba.
While thanking the workshop organizers for a successful forum, Society of Chemists, JKUAT Chapter Secretary, Linda Kariuki encouraged the students to use the acquired knowledge to make the world a better place to be since they have the requisite capacity.