In line with Abu Dhabi government’s efforts to impose strict control on hazardous materials and provide the highest degree of protection for the society and environment, Abu Dhabi Hazardous Materials Management Team (AD-HMMT) have successfully implemented its strategy and executive plan, to help manage hazardous resources in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The strategy and executive plan approved by the Security, Justice and Safety Committee of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, was successfully implemented through-out a five-year period.
AD-HMMT, which includes 28 entities representing multiple government authorities and federal agencies, has implemented all projects and programs of the executive plan of the total of 48 since it was formed in 2015.
Since the formation of the team, which is led by Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), 78 working group meetings have been held, in addition to more than 50 meetings of the formed technical working groups. In addition, 7 decisions were issued by the Security, Justice and Safety Committee, and 23 reports were submitted to the Security, Justice and Safety Committee.
The team’s main role is to identify and manage hazardous materials in the Emirate. It keeps detailed records of all dealings with such materials and coordinates with other authorities to draft relevant legislations. Other responsibilities include developing the Emirate's governance system and assessing risks related to retail outlets which handle hazardous materials.
The main outcome of this work will be the safe management of potentially harmful substances such as pesticides, flammable liquids, and radioactive material. The team’s work is vital in preventing environmental pollution or incidents which can have serious consequences to local residents and property.
The sound management of hazardous materials is of utmost importance, as mishandling of such materials, whether it is the result of negligence or ignorance, or both, will inevitably lead to unforeseen risks such as causing environmental pollution or the occurrence of disasters which threaten human lives, property, security and public safetyDr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi and Head of the AD-HMMT
Her Excellency Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi and Head of the AD-HMMT, said: “The management of hazardous materials is one of the most critical priorities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. This comes in accordance with the requirements of federal and local laws related to security, safety and the environment, as well as the directions of the Abu Dhabi government to impose control on hazardous materials to protect society, and the environment from the dangers that these materials cause.”
According to Dr Al Dhaheri, the team’s work involves going through the inventory and control of hazardous materials, as well as managing an inventory of all handlers. It ensures adherence to rules around security, and environmental and safety requirements that must be taken when practicing any activity related to the circulation of the materials.
The implementation plan covers stages of import, export and release, transportation, manufacturing, storage, trade, and distribution, as well as treatment and safe disposal, all carried out within a legislative and regulatory framework.
Dr Al Dhaheri added: “The sound management of hazardous materials is of utmost importance, as mishandling of such materials, whether it is the result of negligence or ignorance, or both, will inevitably lead to unforeseen risks such as causing environmental pollution or the occurrence of disasters which threaten human lives, property, security and public safety.”
The history of the team dates back to 2015, when a working group for the management of hazardous materials in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi was formed, following a decision made by the Security, Justice and Safety Committee. The committee declared that local government authorities and federal agencies should work together with an objective of protecting society, property, and the environment from the effects of hazardous materials.
The team’s membership includes security agencies such as Abu Dhabi Police and the Civil Defense. It also features academic bodies such as Polytechnic - Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, technical bodies including the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, the Integrated Transport Centre, the Department of Economic Development, the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council, as well as legal advisors of entities.
Eng. Salem Al Braiki, General Coordinator of the team, explained that “the team conducted gap analysis and reviewed the current challenges in the management of hazardous materials, as well as looking into the global best practices. This led to the preparation and approval of a governance system, list of materials of security concern, as well as management procedures based on governance systems and security were developed”.
Eng. Al Braiki said: “The team worked on preparing a plan to respond to emergencies resulting from accidents of hazardous materials transport vehicles, accidents in stores and facilities.”
The team also worked on inspecting and evaluating industrial and commercial hazardous materials storage facilities in terms of security and safety of the environment. Also, the team finalized the requirements for drivers of materials vehicles, evaluating hazardous materials warehouses and preparing a tracking system for vehicles transporting these materials.
“These projects contribute to improving security and safety, so the emirate is proactive in identifying risks and preventing negative consequences. All of projects and programs within the executive plan of the total of 48 have been completed” he said Several technical work teams have been formed to implement specific tasks, including more than 70 technicians and administrators to implement the hazardous materials monitoring program in the facilities operating in Abu Dhabi.
Tasks carried out by the teams included: listing materials of security interest, assessing hazardous materials outlets in Musaffah, devising a programme for drivers and handlers of hazardous materials and preparing a legislative and regulatory framework to implement the Integrated Hazardous Material Management System. Other teams are tasked with tracking hazardous materials transport vehicles, preparing absorptive standards for hazardous materials stores, studying, and defining requirements for security information within the control processes and the possibility of introducing self-control system for establishments.