Zim ports of entry get refrigerant identifiers
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Officially opening the Green Customs Initiative workshop in Victoria Falls yesterday, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Ms Florence Nhekairo, said the country had witnessed an increase in illegal imports of contaminated refrigerants.
"My Ministry has stepped up efforts to train customs officers at major ports of entry and equipping them with necessary knowledge on the requirements of our licensing system. My ministry has so far distributed refrigerant identifiers to all major ports of entry including here in Victoria Falls," she said.
Ms Nhekairo said the Government was committed to the provisions of all multilateral environmental agreements.
"This is evidenced by the fact that we were one of the first developing countries involved in the negotiations, ratification and implementation of the various environmental agreements including those that are the primary focus of this workshop," she said.
Ms Nhekairo said customs officers had an important role to play in the environment protection because they were the first and last to see consignments as they enter or leave the country.
"This is the basis under which the Green Customs Initiative was adopted. The purpose of the initiative is to raise the capacity of customs officers on several Multilateral Environmental Agreements.
"This involves specific training on each MEA and enhancing customs officers' capacity to detect and act on illegal trade in environmentally sensitive items covered by the related agreements, as well as assisting in the facilitation of legal trade in these items," said Ms Nhekairo.
She said the role of the customs officer had changed significantly in recent years because of global issues that affect human health and the environment.
Ms Nhekairo said customs officers had also been trained to detect and combat illegal trade in Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) and to control cross-border movements of harmful chemicals and waste.
"My Government has a coordinated approach in implementing provisions of international legal instruments such as the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and ODS where customs officers play an important role in ensuring that the country does not become a dumping ground for unwanted or obsolete chemicals from across the globe," she said.
Also attending the three- day workshop are ozone officers, chemical focal persons and customs officers from countries in the Sadc region.
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