The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) recently conducted a certification course for inspectors
of hazardous waste in Jamaica. The course provided participants with the knowledge and expertise needed to
meet the stipulated standards under The Natural Resources (Hazardous Wastes) (Control of Transboundary
Movement) Regulations 2002 (amended in 2009), and the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary
Movements of Hazardous Wastes.
Jamaica has forty-two gazetted hazardous waste inspectors, who are mandated under the Regulations to
inspect hazardous waste prior to its export. Under the Hazardous Waste Regulations, permits are needed for
the export of hazardous wastes from Jamaica, as well as for the transit of hazardous wastes through areas
under Jamaica’s jurisdiction. The Regulations ensure that there is environmentally sound management of the
hazardous wastes in accordance with internationally recognized norms and standards. An Environmental Permit
is also required for the storage of hazardous wastes. These Permits are monitored by NEPA and other relevant
government agencies such as the Jamaica Customs Department and the Maritime Authority of Jamaica.
Some common hazardous wastes in Jamaica are generated from lead acid batteries, PCBs (usually found in
electrical transformer oils); electronic wastes such as cellular phones, computers and X-ray machines, as well
as expired chemicals, pharmaceutical preparations and expired pesticides. The retailers of car batteries and cell
phones are usually willing to collect the disposable items.
According to Mrs. Kerrine Senior, Manager of the Pollution, Prevention Branch at NEPA, “Jamaica has many
challenges in dealing with hazardous wastes as there are many different types which are covered by the
regulations, and Jamaica has no hazardous waste disposal facilities for the majority of these waste streams,
hence the reason for exporting them to other countries which can dispose of them in an environmentally sound
Mrs. Senior stated that although there will be a refresher course within a year, additional training and
sensitization is needed to further enhance the capacity of the government to detect illegal traffic of hazardous
wastes. She said that NEPA is working closely with the Jamaica Customs Department, and together they have
achieved some success with respect to the seizure of illegal consignments of hazardous wastes destined for
export, as well as some passing through Jamaica’s territorial sea.
The training was conducted by Carlstien Lutchmedial of Occupational Safety Health and Environmental (OSHE)
Consultants Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago in collaboration with NEPA. The certification is recognized
internationally as it is endorsed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the United
States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) The course is specifically designed for workers who are
involved in clean-up operations; emergency response operations; storage, disposal, or treatment of hazardous
substances, wastes; and uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. Participants included representatives the Jamaica
Fire Brigade, the Jamaica Bureau of Standards, the Ministry of Health’s Environmental Health Unit, the National
Solid Waste Management Authority, the Jamaica Customs Department and the National Environment and
Planning Agency (NEPA).
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