PNG WITHOUT PLAN FOR TOXIC WASTE

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By Peter Korugl

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 5) – Toxic chemical and various hazardous wastes have accumulated in Papua New Guinea but the country is in the dark over the real situation, a disaster management conference heard this week.

The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) last Wednesday revealed that chemical and dangerous wastes were being stockpiled in inappropriate storage facilities or being discharged into the environment but there were no disposal facilities, disposal system and available information on hand to deal with the situation.

Katrina Solien of the permitting and enforcement branch of the DEC raised the alarm at the 4th annual disaster management conference in Lae, Morobe province.

Ms Solien said persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and other dangerous substances such as aldrin, chlordane, DDT, diedrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, toxaphene, hexacholorobenzene (PCBs) chlorinated dioxins and chlorinated furans were kept in improper storage and as a result, contamination had taken place at the sites where they were stockpiled.

She said these chemicals were used in the forestry, health, agriculture and livestock, energy and other sectors that had encountered disposal problems.

Ms Solien pointed out that the country was in the dark with the real situation because there was no inventory of all the chemicals entering the country.

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