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Proper chemical disposal

use caution when getting rid of dangerous substances

Barbadians consumers must be wary of how they use and dispose of any containers which may have contained a pesticide or any other dangerous chemical.

This is the word from Chairman of the Technical Sub-Committee of the Pesticides Control Board, and Officer-in-charge of the Plant Protection Unit, Ministry of Agriculture, Michael James, who explained that there was a particular process which must be adhered to when getting rid of such items.

While he acknowledged that Barbadians were accustomed to reusing containers in the household, James stressed that should not be the case when dealing with receptacles for chemicals such as pesticides.

“After you have used all of a chemical, you are supposed to rinse the chemical out of the plastic container three times. For pesticides, you rinse, put it in a spray can and spray that out and repeat two more times. Then, you puncture that particular plastic can. The reason why you puncture it is because you do not want to place other things in it such as water . . . Or, someone might pick it up and not know you had removed the label and end up getting poisoned,” he explained.

He pointed out that scientific evidence showed that the triple rinse method could remove up to 98 per cent of the chemical from the container.

“After you have finished puncturing [the container] it comes down to where you are going to store it. Some people put it in their bin or waste disposal. We are actively looking to see how to dispose of it in a better way, but at this point in time, in terms of not being able to reuse that container, the triple rinse method is the way we are advocating based on recommendations developed by the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agricultural Organisation. This method is also shown in the document International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides Guidelines on Management Options for Empty Pesticide Containers, James said.

The Plant Pathologist was speaking as Barbados observes Pesticides Awareness Week which runs until Friday, September 28. The theme is Protecting Health and the Environment through Pesticides Container Management. Pesticides Day is Thursday, September 27.

Further information on pesticide containers and their proper use and disposal may be obtained by contacting the Pesticides Control Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Graeme Hall, Christ Church, at 434-5000 or 434-5022, or by emailing the Pesticides Control Board at (BGIS)

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