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Development and Implementation of a Sustainable Management Mechanism for POPs in the Caribbean

In 2013, eight countries in the Caribbean (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago) committed to a five-year regional project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and executed by the Basel Convention Regional Centre for Training and Technology Transfer for the Caribbean (BCRC-Caribbean). The project involves various activities that aim to protect human health and the environment from POPs, a group of pesticides and industrial chemicals that remain in the environment for long periods and bioaccumulate in animals and human beings. Participation in the project supports its ratification of the Stockholm Convention, the international treaty governing the environmentally sound management (ESM) of POPs.

Component 1: Create the Enabling Mechanism in the Caribbean for Effective Implementation of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

In Component 1, the project countries updated their National Implementation Plans involved the inventory of potential sources and uses of POPs in the country. The inventory then informed the development of the national action plan which treats the ESM of POPs.

Mr. Brenton Quammie, National Project Coordinator, presenting on the current NIP status at the 2017 Inventory Initiation Meeting in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

A training needs assessment that saw the prioritisation of 5 thematic areas on cross cutting regional issues where technical training is required was conducted. The requisite training is being delivered under the project.

Participants at one of five Training Workshops executed under the project

An Integrated Chemicals Management Act was developed to assist countries with enacting laws to effectively control the management of POPs chemicals.

A toolkit of public awareness and education material was developed in order to encourage collaboration on the management of POPs in the region. This website, along with the videos, brochures and games featured, are some items in the toolkit which is themed ‘STOPTHEPOPs’ and is intended to help the general public with Identifying the sources and uses of POPs; Learning how POPs can affect human health and the environment; and Acting by protecting yourself from the dangers associated with POPs.

Finally, a regional information system will be developed to manage data. This system will comprise a comprehensive online database for the management of regional and national datasets and information on POPs, other hazardous chemicals and waste and related contaminated sites.

Participants of the Saint Lucia Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Public Awareness and Education Strategy National Training Workshop in 2019

Component 2: Reduce UPOPs Emissions by Improving Poor Waste Management Practices at Landfills

In Component 2, five of the project countries, (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines) sought to implement Best Available Techniques (BAT) and Best Environmental Practices for ESM at landfills. This initiative would help reduce UPOPs which may be released in open burning or accidental fires.

This Component is being executed with the technical consultancy of the RWA Group, Inc. In October 2019, the team conducted needs assessments in the five project countries to develop multi-day training workshops on fundamental concepts and best practices in waste management, landfill operation and hazardous waste management administration and systemic design in waste management pertaining to source separation and operation of the hazardous waste interim storage facility and integration of identified needs into sector planning for decision making.. Three of the five planned training workshops were delivered in Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia and Barbados in February and early March, 2020 prior to COVID-19 restrictions.

A lined leachate pond located at Plantation Landfill, Barbuda. This is one example of a good practice in landfill management.

Participants at the Barbados Training Workshop

Under this Component, demonstration projects in Belize and Suriname are also being executed. The project in Belize establish a medical waste treatment facility while the project in Suriname will upgrade the Ornamibo Landfill.

UNIDO lead consultant (Mr. Javier Martinez), BCRC-Caribbean Project Execution Officer (Analissa Rasheed) and representatives from the Solid Waste Management Authority (Ms. Lumen Cayetano), and the Department of the Environment ( Mr. Martin Alegria) in Belize in 2019 

Component 3: Assess potential contaminated sites to determine the level of soil and groundwater contamination by POPs and Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) and develop appropriate remediation strategies

For Component 3, a contaminated site assessment and development of a remediation plan demonstration project will be conducted at Guanapo Landfill in Trinidad and Tobago among other sites identified in the project countries.

Component 4: Managing and disposal of PCBs

Finally, Component 4 supports four countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Saint Lucia and Suriname) to manage and dispose stockpiles of PCBs where needed to complement work done under a project by the GEF and Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

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