Kenya’s economy suffers due to mercury pollution

Source:KDRTV

 

Mining communities in Kenya lose between Sh174 and Sh342 billion in earning potential every year due to mercury contamination, according to a new study published in The Journal of Environmental Management.

The report is the first peer-reviewed analysis to estimate economic losses due to IQ damage from mercury pollution in Kenya and 14 other countries.

Griffins Ochieng, the Programmes Coordinator, Centre for Environment Justice and Development (Cejad), says the study gives only a small sample of the extent of the damage that is happening across mining sites in the country.

“The high cost of mercury contamination should trigger actions to address pollution sources in Kenya,” he said.

WASTE MANAGEMENT

Researchers from Cejad, a local NGO that aims at promoting environmental justice in the country, participated in the study by collecting hair samples from participants living near small scale gold mines in Masara, in Migori County.

At peak times, more than 20,000 miners work in the area, using mercury to amalgamate gold and then dumping the wastes into rivers that serve as main food sources for the surrounding communities.

“The Minamata Convention [on mercury] needs to be ratified and fully implemented to prevent lost earning potential in Kenya and other communities in the country,” Ochieng says.

EXPOSURE

Hair samples from 71 per cent of participants from the area had mercury levels greater than 0.58 parts per million, the reference dose standard proposed in light of data suggesting harmful effects of mercury at low levels of exposure.

Levels ranged between .08 parts per million to 13.3 ppm.

TOXIC

Mercury exposure damages the nervous system, kidneys, and cardiovascular system.

Developing organ systems, such as the fetal nervous system, are the most sensitive the toxic effects of mercury, although nearly all organs are vulnerable.

Human exposure to mercury occurs primarily through the consumption of contaminated fish, although rice and direct exposure to mercury vapor can also be sources.

“Mercury is a serious global threat to human health and this study shows that it also imposes additional burdens on the economy.

“That’s why it is critical to monitor sources of mercury pollution to minimize its impacts on people and the environment,” Dr Joe DiGangi, a co-author of the report, says.

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 |



Mining industry must spread social and environmental progress to small-scale mines

  1. Artisanal and small-scale mines, normally operating in the informal economy, produce a big chunk of the minerals we use every day -- about a fifth of the world's gold produced each year, for example. …
  2. {read by 32 people}


Artisanal miners being duped

  1. Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) said on Monday artisanal miners, who are contributing significantly to the country's gold production, were being duped by middle-men who are buying the yellow meta…
  2. {read by 43 people}


How a young German director documented illegal gold mining in Ghana

  1. Filmmaker Johannes Preuss has received a student Oscar for his film, "Galamsey," which was shot in Ghana and looks at the illegal gold trade there. DW met him to discuss how the country could "turn in…
  2. {read by 72 people}


Gold war in Colombia: traditional miners against the state

  1. Luz Dary has spent more than half of her life in the mine. This 47-year-old Colombian woman is a chatarrera, a scrap collector: she toils away, every day, from six in the morning to six at night, alon…
  2. {read by 63 people}


Daily Grind: Women Stone Crushers Feed Demand for Construction in Kenya

  1. KISII, KENYA - On a fine afternoon in Nyantitira village, about 192 miles (310 km) west of Nairobi, Gladys Nanzala emerges from her house armed with a spade, a bucket and a few sacks. She is heading b…
  2. {read by 57 people}


SA's influence felt in start of African tin mine

  1. Two global events have led to development of a long-dormant deposit at Bisie - in thick forest in the war-torn corner of the Democratic Republic of Congo - in what will become Africa's only formal tin…
  2. {read by 80 people}



khjg