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MANAGEMENT OF HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS AND SUBSTANCES


There are two kinds of sources of pollution of the environment

1.            Point sources of Pollution
2.            Non-Point sources – referred to as diffuse sources of pollution

POINT SOURCES OF POLLUTION

Point sources of pollution are sources which are fixed and the pollution from which is predictable and known in advance.  The epitomy of point sources of pollution is waste drain.  The ways in which point sources of pollution are managed is through firstly the establishment of standards to be met by the pollutants which are to be discharged from those point sources.  In order to regulate that point source, the permit or licence is issued for that particular activity.  For example if one wishes to run a factory that will discharge pollutants through a pipe, then you apply a permit and the permit will indicate what the factory must meet.  Discharge of effluence is a normal part of economic activity and it is handled by issuing permits and handling it so it falls to manageable standards.

NON POINT SOURCES OF POLLUTION

Non-point sources of pollution refer to sources of pollution whose origin is unpredictable and diffuse, they arise from unpredictable events or circumstances one does not know until the pollution occur at which particular point the pollution will occur.  The example of a non-point source of pollution is an accident involving a petrol tanker.  Until the accident occurs one doesn’t know where it occurs.  Use of pesticides on crops is another example, when it rains the rains wash pesticides into the river and no one knows when it will happen.

The method of dealing with non-point source of pollution is through prescribing preventive measures.  These are measures designed to ensure that the activity is undertaken in such a way as to minimise or prevent altogether the occurrence of pollution or the extent of environmental damage arising from the pollution.

Hazardous chemicals and substances are chemicals and substances which contain characteristics which contain a danger to humans and the environment.  We have listed the characteristics under Section 91 of the Environmental Management and Coordination Act contains a list of characteristics that make substances hazardous, these are that the substances are corrosive, carcinogenic, flammable, toxic, persistent, explosive or radio active.  Until that characteristic or the substance leads to environmental damage, the danger remains latent, latent means that it exists but has not yet manifested itself.  It is for these reasons that these substances represent diffuse sources of pollution that is because you can live with them but something may occur that makes environmental damage become a reality.

In Kenya a diverse range of laws deal with the management of hazardous chemicals and substances.  They include the Pest Control Products Act Cap 346 of the Laws of Kenya, the Pharmacy and Poisons Act which is Cap 244, Radiation Protection Act Cap 243 of the Laws of Kenya, act the Petroleum Act Cap 116 Laws of Kenya, Fertilisers and Animals foods Act Cap 145, the Foods, Drugs and Chemicals Act Cap 254, the Environmental Management and Coordination Act of 1999 has introduced a parallel system for managing hazardous chemicals and substances.  All of these laws are product specific which means that each of them focuses on a certain category of products but the principles on which they are based are similar in every case.  The objective is preventive and it is an international principle that provides for Classification, Packaging and Labelling Products.   Classification, Packaging Labelling is a principle of management of hazardous chemicals and substances applied internationally which means that whether in Europe or Africa the principles are the same.  The extent to which they respected however is different depending on where one is.

 
 
 

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