Mercury treaty fails to offer poor gold miners a quicksilver solution | Paige McClanahan

From Global development | The Guardian Mon Jan 21 2013, 10:56:13

New measures may not go far enough to help artisanal gold miners, who face significant health risks from mercury exposure

The new mercury treaty will rewrite the rules on how the toxic element can be used around the world. But it remains unclear how the treaty will affect those facing some of the greatest health risks from the substance: small-scale gold miners in the developing world.

"The scientific evidence is so incontestable ... and the health impacts are so debilitating," says Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme (Unep). "We want to find a way in which mercury can be taken out of the small-scale gold mining sector. Unbeknown to many of the people who are engaged in this gold mining, it is a very harmful compound."

The mercury treaty, which was finalised in Geneva after a five-day negotiating marathon that finished early on Saturday morning, will regulate the supply, trade and use of the substance. Under the terms of the treaty, governments will be encouraged - but not obliged - to take measures to manage the health impacts of mercury exposure. In countries where artisanal gold mining takes place, governments will be required to draft national action plans to reduce its use.

[view whole blog post ]
 See More    |     Report Abuse


You might also be interested in the following news stories:

West Africa:   'We Have to Act Fast' on Ebola - Obama (document)
United States Department of State
16 September 2014

The "daunting task" of containing Ebola can be accomplished, President Obama says. "We know that if we take the proper steps, we can save lives. But we have to act fast." [read more]

Rwanda:   Kigali - a Different Kind of City (blog)
allAfrica.com
17 September 2014

The Chinese pair trailing me at the check-in line at Kigali airport looked happy to have landed in east Africa. A string of comments expressing restrained delight followed me all the way to where the ... [read more]

Liberia:   Patients Shun Hospitals Fearing Ebola Misdiagnosis (news)
Deutsche Welle
16 September 2014

As Liberia battles the Ebola virus, people suffering from other diseases are afraid to seek treatment. They fear they may be wrongly diagnosed or could contract Ebola if they seek hospital treatment. [read more]



blogAfrica is allAfrica.com's platform to help you keep an ear on the African blogosphere. We draw diverse voices from around the world who post regularly and insightfully about African issues. Bloggers, submit your blog's rss-feed!