The objective of this project is to initiate a management system
for Hazardous Substances in Egypt, through providing basic guidelines and information for the purpose of ensuring safe handling of such substances and through disseminating such information through an information network.
In achieving its objective, the project would develop, complete and standardize procedures and information required to promote the safe handling of Hazardous Substances in Egypt, as well as ensure the dissemination and wide accessibility of this information.
The information development component comprises the development of national guidelines for the safe storage, transport and packaging of Hazardous Substances, as well as the development of a national labeling system.
This system and guidelines would be based on already existing international ones, adapted to the Egyptian needs and conditions. This component would also address the permitting procedures as detailed by Law 4/1994 and article 26 of its ER, coordinating between the concerned authorities (six line ministries) with the purpose of developing one common format to be used for permitting issuing.
Moreover, it would provide information concerning the properties of Hazardous Substances and methods of handling them in case of accidents.
The Information dissemination component comprises the installation of a computerized network between the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) and the partner authorities, composed of the six line ministries listed above, as well as the Customs Authorities and possibly the Authority for Civil Defense.
The network would be composed of a center placed in EEAA, and focal points in each of the partner authorities. It would support a continuous flow of information between the center and the focal points (and vice versa), thus insuring the wide and easy access to it. This information would be composed of (1) the guidelines for safe handling, (2) Format and information concerning the permitting procedures, (3) Information database of Hazardous Substances, as well as (4) the computerized tables and lists of hazardous Substances and Wastes.
The project management would be carried out through a steering committee composed of the concerned EEAA departments, as well as a working group.
Handling of Hazardous Substances in Egypt is regulated by Law 4/1994 for the environment (articles 29 to 33) and its Executive Regulations ER (articles 25 to 33). In addressing this Law 4 and the ER stipulate that handling Hazardous Substances could only be carried out after the issue of a permit from the concerned authorities, which are six line ministries (Agriculture, Industry, Health, Interior, Petroleum, Electricity) each in its field of competence, as stated in the ER. Moreover, the procedures required to grant a permit are detailed, and stipulate that necessary safety measures be taken during storage, transport and packaging. However, current procedures for granting the permit are not fully compatible with the requirements of Law 4/1994 and there exists no detailed standards or guidelines to allow proper implementation of Law 4/1994. Therefore, there exists an urgent need for the standardization of the permitting procedures for the concerned authorities (six line ministries) and ensuring their compatibility with the requirements of Law 4, as well as for basic guidelines and information concerning the safe handling of Hazardous Substances in Egypt. Moreover, such guidelines and information need to be widely disseminated and easily accessible.