JIS News

The Pesticides Control Authority (PCA) is participating in a major initiative to eliminate obsolete pesticides from Jamaica and promote safety islandwide.
Speaking with JIS News, Registrar at the PCA, Michael Ramsay said that the initiative is funded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, and is aimed at getting rid of unwanted pesticides from Jamaica and other CARICOM countries.
“These obsolete or unwanted products include pesticides that the expiry date has been exhausted and is deemed no longer effective. There may be pesticides that are unsafe to use around the home or others with labels that are no longer visible or destroyed, and the householder may not even know what is inside the container,” the Registrar explained.
Mr. Ramsay said that the Caribbean-wide project involves identifying where these pesticides are in the country and then collecting them for disposal elsewhere.
“Obsolete pesticides were chosen, because throughout the Caribbean we have found that over the years, unwanted pesticides build up in various store rooms, on farms or in various business premises and even households. These stocks are dangerous, as persons do not know how to dispose of them and in Jamaica we do not have a dedicated storage and disposal facility for hazardous chemicals,” Mr. Ramsay explained.
The Registrar urged persons to support the initiative and co-operate with representatives who will be undertaking the exercise across the island.
To further heighten awareness, the PCA is observing September 19-25 as Pesticides Awareness Week, under the theme: ‘Eliminating Obsolete Pesticides Today for a Healthier Tomorrow’.
Activities include an agriculture quiz competition for the three agricultural schools – Ebony Park HEART Academy in Clarendon; Knockalva Agriculture High School in Hanover, and Sydney Pagon High School in St. Elizabeth. The quiz will test students’ knowledge of pesticide use and safety, and general agriculture.
The PCA will also be participating in radio and television interviews to alert the public on pesticide safety. There will also be re-runs from the PCA’s popular television series ‘Mine U Cide’, which are 30/60 second dramatisations highlighting farm and household pesticide use, created to give public education on pesticide safety.
Following the week’s observance, the PCA will host a workshop on pesticide residue for agricultural exporters and Government agencies involved in food safety. The workshop is being organised by the United States embassy.
Meanwhile, the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) is recommending the following ‘safe use of chemicals’ tips:Never purchase household chemicals which are not properly labeled.Never purchase chemicals in containers which were previously used to store food or in containers which are usually associated with food, such as drink bottles.Store chemicals in their original containers with labels attached.Carefully read the label and diligently follow the instructions. Read the label before making your purchase to ensure that all relevant information is provided.Rinse nipple bottles with pure water after washing them with bleach.Wash vegetables under running water to remove bacteria and residual pesticides. In the case of leafy vegetables, remove the outer leaves and discard them.Wash and scrub all fruits under running water.Never use chemicals around people who are eating or drinking.Do not eat, drink or touch the mouth or eyes while handling chemicals.Store chemicals away from food, drink and water and in a cool dry area to minimise the possibility of leakage.Wash hands thoroughly after using chemicals.Consumers should also remember their responsibility to the environment and should therefore avoid washing chemical containers or disposing of chemicals in water bodies, such as rivers, ponds, gullies or streams as this can kill aquatic life and, even worse, contaminate ground water, which is used for human consumption.

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