31 March 2008

Uganda: Govt Drafts Law On Chemical Weapons

Munyonyo — THE government is drafting a law to regulate toxic chemicals used in industries and those in transit through the country.

State Minister for Labour, Employment and Industrial Relations Mwesigwa Rukutana said his ministry has already drafted a Bill, which will soon be tabled before the Cabinet.

"We have already drafted the Prohibition of Toxic Chemical Bill. This Bill has taken long in our docket and it is the time to push for its enactment to control those noxious chemicals," Mr Rukutana said.

Mr Rukutana disclosed this during a workshop for MPs on the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the need for its Implementation in Kampala last Friday.

Uganda assented to the CWC on November 30, 2001 but has never enacted a law to regulate the use of toxic chemicals in the country.

CWC is the convention on the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and their destruction.

The Minister said though Uganda was a non-chemical weapons state, there was need to implement activities of the convention since some of the perilous chemicals are used as raw materials in local industries.

"People working in these industries are exposed to them," Mr Rukutana said adding "And we feel we need your [MPs] full support to get a law to regulate them."

He said some dangerous chemicals from industries were responsible for the fading water cycle and a threat to the environment, a scenario that needs urgent attention.

"We have been carrying out regular inspections of industries but the most disgusting thing we have discovered is some seem not to care about the toxic waste generated. This waste at times end up in our water sources, which is very dangerous," he said.

The MPs vowed to support the Bill.

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