The government gazetted regulations for importing and storing chemicals in the Maldives.
This is the first time that the government announced a regulation on chemical storage. The regulation was gazetted following the tragic fire incident that took place in Henveiru ward of Male’ on September 20. Over 430 individuals displaced due to the incident are residing in temporary homes.
While chemical import regulations remain unchanged, businesses are stipulated to acquire permission from the Ministry of Defence before importing any hazardous chemicals into the country.
Requirements for importing chemicals:
– Arrangement of safe transportation and handling of chemicals
– Having a safe storage space for chemicals
– Correctly labeling the chemical and providing necessary information to buyers
– Having a comprehensive insurance policy on imported chemicals and taking responsibility for damages sustained by the storage warehouse
The permit to import chemicals will be issued for a quantity decided by the ministry based on how dangerous the chemical is. The imported chemicals can only be sold with a special permit. All sold chemicals should be labeled properly, educating the public on the dangers and risks.
The regulation also mandates business owners to keep records of the purchases, including the parties that buy the chemicals, which should be disclosed to authorities upon request.
According to the regulations, the ministry can inspect the warehouses where the chemicals are stored any time they see fit.
Requirements for storage warehouses
– The warehouse should be located away from residential areas
– Chemical storage facilities cannot be over three stories
– The doors of such warehouses must be fire-resistant
– Special warehouses must be established for chemicals that require storage at specific temperatures
– Electrical wiring in the warehouse must be done through electrical conduits
– Only permitted chemicals can be stored in the warehouse
– A mechanism to extinguish fires must be set in place in accordance with fire and rescue services
Hefty fines for violating regulations
– The fine for not labeling imported chemicals properly is between MVR 5,000 and 20,000
– If any other regulations are violated, fines can go up to MVR 50,000
– In addition to the fine, the Defence Ministry has the right to withhold the permit as well
Storing chemicals in residential areas was banned following the fire last week. The government announced on Sunday that all warehouses storing hazardous chemicals will be shifted to the nearby landfill island of Thilafushi within a period of three months.