The Children’s Environmental Health Foundation (CEHF) team has embarked on a policymakers’ engagement in order to spearhead the formulation of a statutory instrument with regards to eliminating lead in paint by 2020 as per Global Alliance.
Speaking during the stakeholder engagement held in Lusaka at the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) on 5th November 2020, ZEMA Director-General John Msimuko stated that he was pleased to have noted the progress that had been made so far made by CEHF with regards to the lead-in-paint campaign as well as the Phasing out of Dental amalgam and the works on Toxics-Free SDGs campaigns.
Mr Msimuko stated that the agency was ready to support CEHF and would make considerations in engaging them in the institution’s 2021 activities.
He stated that the agency was pleased to have engaged and support CEHF in most of their campaigns and will continue doing so as the campaign was cardinal towards improving the environment as well as people’s lives.
The Director-General stated that it was important to have the international standards and agreements implemented by having lead-in-paint international standards domesticated as well as phasing out the dental Amalgam it would help the country grow environmentally.
Mr Msimuko expressed gratitude to CEHF and advised the organization to continue spearheading such noble causes.
The Director-General expressed that ZEMA would take up the responsibility as the Lead Agency in the drafting of the statutory instrument that was going to regulate lead content to 90 parts per million.
“We can only achieve being part of the international agreement by enacting and domesticating the international law such as the establishment of the statutory instrument to stop the manufacturing, import, export, sale and use of paint containing excessive lead content, he explained.
Meanwhile, Zambia Compulsory Standards Agency (ZCSA), Domestic Inspections Manager, Francis Mwelwa stated that the lead-in-paint elimination project needed concerted efforts to make progress especially with regards to the drafting and enforcement of a law that was going to regulate the lead content in paint production making it safe for public use.
He commended CEHF and assured the organization that ZCSA was in support with the drafting of the statutory instrument that was going to regulate the manufacturing, sale and use of paint containing high lead content in excess of 90 parts per million.
Mr Mwelwa who alluded to the fact that he was a paint expert by profession, advised CEHF to constantly engage the agency as it would greatly and gladly support this campaign.
He stated that all that was needed currently was to establish a standard that could be made mandatory before drafting the statutory instrument.
The Domestic Inspections Manager explained that the statutory standard once completed and passed, it would aid in enforcing the already existing standards such as the ZS 1185 standard.
And CEHF Chairperson and Country Coordinator Michael Musenga said that the sole purpose of the stakeholders meeting is advocacy to policymakers to support the lead paint elimination campaign by designating the Lead Agency as well as identify a drafting group to start the process of drafting the law to phase out lead paints
He established that CEHF had already had a lead in paint consultative meetings with, of course, support from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental protection, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Local Government, Zambia Environmental Management Agency, Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) Zambia Institute of Environmental Health (ZIEH) and the University of Zambia school of public health and the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint (Lead Paint Alliance).
“The results of the study is a strong justification to ban the production, distribution, import, export, sale and use of paint that contained lead in excess of 90 parts per million,” he explained.
He mentioned that the Zambia Bureau of Standards through the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry had developed and gazetted Voluntary Standard (ZS1185).
“Zambia is one of the 20 countries in Africa that pledged to eliminate lead paint by 2020 as set by the Global Alliance to eliminating lead paint (the Lead Paint Alliance) and we are remaining with two Months before the end of the year 2020,” he explained
Mr Musenga explained that Cameron, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa have been the countries that have so far established regulations on lead-in-paint.
Tapela Lungu is an award winning writer and Media and Communication studies student at the University of Zambia who has a strong passion to write, read and explore. He is currently the Managing Editor for the online magazine. As a writer he has a strong interest for human interest stories, community news and stories that impact human development and health.