Port state control inspectors and customs officers should be trained on symbols of the imported goods, hazardous chemicals and wastes so that they can identify their safe handling procedures as well as be conversant with protocol response should the products cause harm on the environment and/or people.
Africa Institute’s Executive Director, Taelo Letsela, told The Guardian that majority of boarder and port authority officials as well as staff are not competent in this field.
“We need to train them to understand the meaning of these symbols because they are the international language for chemical identification and if officials are not well taught they cannot then carry out inspection at the ports and borders…” he asserted.
Also the goods and material transported must be labeled
Hazardous waste are any sold, liquid or contained gaseous materials which are no longer used and if not handled or disposed of properly could damage or pollute the land, air or water and they can also cause injury or death to exposed individuals.
The director adviced the inspectors at to use sustainable methods and ensure theydo not endanger the public.
Described on their site, the Africa Institute (AI) for the Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous and Other Wastes is both a Basel Convention Regional Centre (BCRC) for English speaking African Countries and a Stockholm Convention Regional Centre.
The Africa Institute opened its doors in 2009 and it is situated in Pretoria South Africa, hosted by and within the Department of Environmental Affairs of the Government of South Africa.
Since its establishment the Africa Institute has initiated several projects and organized workshops that address the challenges that members have raised regarding effective implementation of the conventions within the chemicals cluster.
AI provides training, capacity building, awareness raising, information exchange, and any other function that member countries may assign to it regarding environmentally sound management of chemicals and hazardous wastes and other wastes.
The institute continues to mobilize and rally its members to act together to address these problems as they are essentially trans-boundary in nature. According to AI, waste and chemicals management in most African countries are relatively deficient mainly due to lack of technical and financial capacity.
Information provided by AI on country profile studies and workshops have enabled members countries to identify most of the waste and chemicals management problems that surround them.
There are now eight countries that have ratified the Africa Institute agreement, namely: Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia.