An average of 2,031 Million Vatu imports were done for chemicals and allied products for the years 2018-2020 with over 2,000 Million Vatu for each year in Vanuatu. The mineral imports for the same period are 11,030, 9,987 and 6,475 Million Vatu. Most of the chemical imports are for general usage in various sectors of industries and for household purposes.
Even though, Vanuatu being part of many conventions over the years, there seems lack of some components of these frameworks being not implemented to a full spirit. There are multiple reasons being brought forward which include political, administrative, human resources, expertise and financial constraints. The implementation of the safe management and disposal of chemicals in the country was found as a non-monitored programme. It was not noted that many storage sites do lack any emergency response equipment nor trained staff.
There is very limited knowledge in regard to chemical storage, usage and discharge. These underlines an urgent need to frame proper legislation with administrative support for the monitoring program to track the life cycle of all chemical imports. The program should also include the protocols needed to follow for transport, storage and safe disposal. It is recommended that there is a need also for promotional activities for safe usage and storage of chemicals/chemical related products. To achieve this, the consultant recommends strengthening DEPC’s capacity by establishing “Chemicals Monitoring Officer”.
With those challenges taken into account, a National Chemical Coordinating Committee (NCCC) was setup, with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the UNEP Special Programme, to Strengthen the Institutional Capacity for Chemicals and Waste Management in Vanuatu of which as well as, to develop a National Chemical Profile (NCP) for Vanuatu.