Gov’t lacks law on cooking gas


THE Government has no legislation in place to control domestic cooking gas products in the country.

Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Stanley Sofu confirmed this in Parliament on 7th December 2022, when asked by Leader of Opposition, Mathew Wale.

Wale claimed there was a study by scientists released last month, that found the cooking gas products like butane gas are risky for people’s health.

In response, Sofu said chemical management in the country is fragmented and covered under different legislations.

“For example, the Pharmacy and Poisons Act 1941 regulates the importation, sale, suppliers and use of pharmaceutical drugs and provisions under the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

“The Safety at Work Act 1982 regulates the manufacture, suppliers and use of chemicals and pesticides, as they relate to work place health and safety, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock,” he said.

Sofu said the crop health unit which also among the pesticide registry.

In addition, he said a large number of chemicals are not coverable.

“As such on part of meeting our obligations under the Stockholm conventions on persistent organics pollutants, we have made a provision in National Implementation Plan and sound chemical management inclusion of chemicals that are not covered under existing legislations.

“Unfortunately, due to limited capacity within the Environment and Conservation Division, the implementation of NIP has been delayed,” he added.

Furthermore, Sofu said the draft Environmental Act Amendment Bill which is at advance stage of drafting, has a new provision in Part 5 and management of chemicals that are not covered under existing legislations.

He said the part states that any chemicals deem as dangerous substance that is imported, exported, stored, produced, sold, use and dispose, which may cause environmental harm, must be managed accordingly to standards prescribes by Regulations.

“Origin gas has imported butane gas last year, however, due to covid 19, they have stopped.

“They did not buy empty bottles for 30 cents and stockpile the collected bottles for disposal at their area at Henderson. It is currently being stockpile,” he added.

Sofu said currently, the ministry does not undertake compliance monitoring and enforcement of domestic cooking gas products.

However, he said the current draft Environmental Act does not provide for sound chemical management and therefore will consider compliance, monitoring and enforcement in the implementation of the new Environmental Amendment Bill.

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