POPs, hazardous chemicals and waste have different exposures and impacts on women’s and men’s health! Therefore Women Environmental Programme – WEP Nigeria jointly with Women Engage for a Common Future – WECF International carried out a scoping study, including the filming of a documentary film, to study the dimensions of implementing the BRS Conventions between 9 January and 10 February 2017.
Community-based household waste collection and sorting business “WeCycle” which is run by an engaged young Nigerian female entrepreneur, Billikis Abiola.
On 12 January the partners organised a multi-stakeholder forum on the topic of Gender and the BRS Conventions* in the capital, Abuja with 35 experts from ministries of environment, health, agriculture and foreign affairs, customs offices, environmental agencies, agencies for product certification, UNIDO, environmental and women NGOs.
The gender dimensions of chemical waste
The focus was to understand three questions relating to gender dimensions:
- How are women and men differently impacted in their health by POPs / hazardous chemicals & waste?
- How do women and men’s occupations and roles at home and at work influence exposure to POPs / hazardous chemicals & waste?
- What best practices with women and men’s leadership exist to substitute and eliminate POPs / hazardous chemicals & waste exist?
The findings were presented in a case study, in a film and at a side event during the COP8 in Geneva, Switzerland, in April 2017.
Plastic, e-waste and PCB oils
The scoping study found evidence of open burning of waste, including plastic and e-waste, done mostly by men, and thus the Nigerian population as a whole is unknowingly exposed to unintentional POPs through their air and food. Furthermore, some PCB oils have been misappropriated and are being sold on the market, mostly by women, as cooking oils to deep fry food. Women farmers in particular lack enough information and do not take protection measures when applying pesticides, some which might be highly hazardous. Additionally, the artisanal small scale gold mining has resulted in 300+ dead children from lead in the ore used around homes, with women as a key target group in avoiding further deaths. First highlights showcase that promising practices do exist in the area of safe electronic and plastic waste recycling, with both young women and men in leadership.
*More information on the Gender Action Plan of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions can be found here.
Meeting of WEP and WECF directors with the Minister of Environment of Nigeria, Amina Mohammed, who has now joined the UN as Deputy Secretary General.