Gambia: YVE Commemorates International Lead Poison Day

21 October 2020

The Young Volunteers for Environment (YVE) on Monday commemorated International Lead Poison day on the theme 'ban lead paint.'

This year's commemoration is designed to raise awareness and galvanise support to address the human health effects of lead exposure especially for children. It was also meant to enhance political and social commitment towards the elimination of lead paints in the country.

The Young Volunteers for Environment (YVE) in partnership with the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) and the National Environment Agency (NEA) conducted a research in 2017/2018 on the content of lead in solvent-based paints for home use in The Gambia.

The report presents a new data and the laboratory results revealed that the lead content of solvent -based paints for home use available in the market of The Gambia is too high, which puts the entire country's healthy and environment at risk.

It is for this reason that YVE calls for urgent action to put enforced regulations that will ban the use, export, sale and manufacture of lead paints.

Joe Bongay, executive Director of Young Volunteers for Environment in The Gambia (YVE), said NEAin partnership with IPEN, Young Volunteers for Environment conducted a research study on lead in solvent-based paint intended for home use in The Gambia.

"The key findings from the report, lead in solvents -based paints for home use indicates that 62% of the solvent-based paints contained lead-concentration. A series of country wide awareness was also done through various social media, radio etc. The launch of the report was attended by various stakeholders from government, paint importers, media, NGOs, etc."

Bongay noted that YVE/NEA also had a joint report briefing with National Assembly Select Committee on Environment, which comprises parliamentarians in sharing with them the report findings and key recommendations for a possible inclusion in their future sessions for a possible regulation discussion still ongoing.

"In February 2019 , the key findings and recommendations where shared in the draft review session of the State of the Environment Report (SOER) of The Gambia in which YVE The Gambia participated. Furthermore, a series of meetings were conducted with Gambia Competition Consumer Protection Commission (GCCPC) and The Gambia Standard Bureau (TGSB) on building strategic partnership alliance to eliminate Lead in Paint in the Gambia" he added.

He also revealed that there is no level of lead exposure that is without harmful effects as it causes lifelong health problem including lower intelligence quotient (IQ), impaired learning and many more.

Fatoumatta Manjang, programme assistant at Young Volunteers for Environment said majority of the solvent-based paints contained lead concentrations above 90 ppm.

"Moreover, 41% of the paints contained dangerously high lead concentrations above 10,000 ppm. Yellow paints were the most hazardous, with 90% containing lead concentrations greater than 10,000 ppm, followed by orange paints with 80% and red paints with 27% containing such high lead concentrations".

Lamin K Fatty, chairman and campaign manager for Young Volunteers for Environment expressed similar sentiments.

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