DAR ES SALAAM : THE Government Chemist Laboratory Authority (GCLA) will begin an intensive public education to prevent health and environmental effects as result of improper handling of the poisonous sodium cyanide chemical.
Sodium cyanide is used commercially for fumigation, electroplating, extracting gold and silver from ores, and chemical manufacturing.
Government Chief Chemist, Dr Fidelice Mafumiko officially launched the campaign yesterday in Dar es Salaam and it will run for two weeks in eight regions.
The theme for the campaign is ' know about sodium cyanide, stay safe.'
Apart from Dar es Salaam, other regions include Coast, Morogoro, Dodoma, Singida, Tabora, Shinyanga and Geita.
These are regions which the sodium cyanide chemical passes when transported from Dar es Salaam port to the areas of mining activities.
"This chemical has serious effects if misused. So we have seen the importance of educating stakeholders and the public at large because we have noticed increased usage of this chemical due increased mining activities.
For instance in 2022 alone we issued license for over 11,601 tonnes of the chemical imported through the Dar es Salaam port," Dr Mafumiko stated.
He said the law on hazardous chemicals has set procedures guiding its handling when it enters the country through the ports and other gateways.
Elaborating on the campaign, he said, it will involve stakeholders including the police force, health workers, fire and rescue force as well as the general public.
For police force it is expected that they would have understanding on precautions to take when they stop trucks carrying the chemical.
The campaign will also create awareness among health workers so that they get prepared in terms of having needed equipment when an affected person attends the health centre.
Also, for the public especially people living along the roads where the chemical consignment passes when transported to the destinations.
The private companies, Prime Fuels Company and Geita Gold Mining (GGM) have joined forces with the GCLA to run the campaign.
"I call upon other companies to educate the citizens about this chemical," he asked.
Mr Emmanuel Mabula, Manager for safety and environment at the Prime Fuels, commended the campaign, arguing that it was a good move.
"The law also requires us to educate the public, this also made us participate in this campaign," Mr Mabuka noted.