The GEF 5558 Project: Development and Implementation of a Sustainable Management Mechanism for POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) in the Caribbean seeks to build both institutional and human resource capacity to deal with the impacts of POPs and unintentionally produced POPs (UPOPs) in eight (8) of the Caribbean countries who are Parties to the Stockholm Convention: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. This is expected to be achieved through various project components including Component 4: Managing and Disposing of PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls).

PCBs were intensively used in industrial electrical equipment because its properties made them ideal dielectric and heat transfer fluids (UNEP, 2003). Despite their useful properties, PCBs were found to pose a threat to human health and the environment due to its toxicity, resistance to biodegradation, tendency to bioaccumulate and bio-magnify. The manufacture and use of PCB containing electrical equipment, such as transformers and capacitors, has since been banned in the late 1970s to early 1980s. In efforts to ensure that the use of PCBs is ceased by 2025, parties to the Basel and Stockholm convention are obliged to complete national inventories of all PCBs, and for PCB-contaminated equipment (>50 mg/kg) to dispose of in an environmentally sound manner.

In order to facilitate this inventory, the UNIDO/ GEF #5558 project synergized with a similar component of another project: FAO/ GEF #5407 “Disposal of Obsolete Pesticides, including POPs, Promotion of Alternatives and Strengthening Pesticides Management in the Caribbean” in order to conduct a Rapid Assessment and Inventory of PCBs in storage in the 8 UNIDO/GEF #5558 participating countries during July and August 2016. This rapid assessment was carried out by the BCRC-Caribbean team, accompanied in part by UNIDO-contracted Consultant and International PCB expert, Dr. Luciano Gonzalez who provided direct “on-the-job” training and guidance to the BCRC-Caribbean team on how to conduct a rapid assessment or inventory of PCBs in transformer oils, equipment and/or PCB contaminated materials and equipment that were already removed from service or decommissioned.

To learn more about the sampling exercise, visit our Facebook page:
The BCRC-Caribbean report on the Rapid Assessment and Inventory of Stored PCB Oil and PCB Contaminated Equipment for Disposal will soon be made available on our website.