Thursday, September 6, 2018

Ghanas Initial Assessment Report On Mercury Launched

8:27:00 AM

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) launched Ghanas Minamata Initial Assessment Report, setting the tone for national discussions on mercury management in Ghana.

Ghana, being a party to the Minamata Convention which aims to phase-out / minimize mercury usage, undertook the assessment to understand the existing institutional and legal frameworks on mercury management, sources of mercury releases, the gaps that need to be filled, and actions required to ensure an effective implementation of the Convention.

Findings from the assessment identified the major mercury release sources in Ghana and these include gold extraction with mercury, mostly by artisanal small-scale gold miners; use and disposal of mercury-added products; waste incineration and open waste burning.

The mercury releases, according to the report, are mostly emitted into the air, followed by water and land.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, expressed the Governments satisfaction on the great efforts put in by key stakeholders to ensure that the assessment was carried out successfully and in fine time.

He stressed on the Ministrys commitment to provide adequate help for the implementation of the recommended actions identified.

He said, Government will not relent in its effort to deal with illegalities in artisanal & small-scale gold mining, especially the use of mercury as this affects the environment.

The report also noted that, though Ghana does not mine mercury, it imports mercury and mercury containing products, and these are mostly used by artisanal small-scale gold miners; educational and research institutions; health care facilities; meteorological services and other allied institutions.

The devices being used by these institutions are mainly thermometers, manometers, barometers, sphygmomanometers, and analytical equipment.

In terms of the risk of mercury exposure, the report indicated that the most vulnerable groups are: communities close to water bodies and mining sites; patients, health personnel and people living close to health facilities that use mercury-added products; and those living near open dumps and waste incineration sites.

By Ghana Leaks Blog

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