By Madiba Singhateh
The National Environmental Agency together with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW), have issue statement banning the importation and use of the sniper insecticide in the country. The statement was issued in a press release yesterday, February 26th 2019. The NEA said the ban is effective on the importation, use and distribution of the said insecticide, pending further noticed.
The Release further stated that licensed and business persons and entities in possession of the product, should surrender the banned products to the Agency’s Headquarters on Jimpex Road in Kanifing, or at their regional offices throughout with the country or the nearest public health office for safe storage; that the unlicensed applicators engaged in the use of this product and other banned pesticides or chemicals, are warned against the importation, use and distribution of the banned product, risk facing the full force of the Law.
The SNIPER insecticide a synthetic organophosporus chemical meant for outdoor use on farms or greenhouses. According to the NEA, the banned chemical is erroneously turned into an indoor insecticide which is widely used in the country because of its perceived effectiveness against insects such as mosquitoes, cockroaches and other domestic insects at household level. The NEA further indicated in their Release that this form of use of this banned chemical, is due to lack of adequate awareness of the public on the health dangers associated with the product; that recent fatalities have been attributed to use of SNIPER poisoning in the country, as confirmed by data from health facilities, regarding the handling and use of this particular product, as well as other pesticides / chemicals.
As a national concern, MoHSW held consultative meetings on the issue and had further discussions with the National Assembly Select Committee on Health and the Environment; that consequently, a taskforce comprising NEA and MoHSW was constituted to investigate issues surrounding SNIPER use, and its effects on humans and the environment in the country and recommend a way forward.
Therefore, pursuant to Section 15 (2) of the Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides Control Management ACT 1994, a moratorium has been imposed on the import, distribution and use of SNIPER in the country, pending further notice.