Evelyn Makena @evemake_g
Chemical pollution threatens to cause further damage to human health, economies and environment as global production is set to double by 2030. From treating diseases to promoting crop production, chemicals are useful components of modern economies. The envisaged future to negate the hazardous impacts of chemical lies in maximising their benefits while reducing the harmful effects.
“Whether the growth in chemicals becomes a net positive or a net negative for humanity depends on how we manage the chemicals challenge. What is clear is that we must do much more, together,” said Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director of UN Environment.
Global Chemical Outlook II report released last week during the fourth session United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) called for urgent action to reverse the damage caused by the industry that has an annual production of 2.3 billion tonnes. Though global laws and commitments on reducing the harms of the industry have been made, large amounts of hazardous chemicals are still being released into the air, soil and water bodies.
Use of pesticides has been found to affect pollinators impacting on global food production. The 2018 Living the Planet Report by World Wide Fund for Nature indicates that 75 per cent of all leading global food crops benefit from pollination. Selected chemicals also contributed to a huge disease burden estimated to affect 1.6 million people in 2016 according to World Health Organization.
International treaties such as the Montreal Protocol and Stockholm Convention have played a critical role in driving momentum for substitution of chemicals of concern with safer or non-chemical alternatives.