Ghana launches Minamata Initial Assessment

Ghana has launched its Minamata Initial Assessment (MIA) report, calling for the development of a legal framework that incorporates the obligations under the Minamata Convention and an administrative structure for its full and effective implementation.

The Six-Chapter Report on Mercury Use, Sources and Releases in Ghana is also calling for the phasing out the use of mercury-added products from the health sector and the phasing down on the use of dental amalgam.

Dr Samuel Adu-Kumi, the Project Coordinator, said there was also the need to reduce and possibly eliminate the use of mercury and mercury compounds in Artisanal and Small scale Gold Mining (ASGM).

He said for the country to be in line with the Convention instituted by the Global Environment Facility, there was the need to reduce emissions and releases of mercury from point source categories and also manage mercury waste in an environmentally-sound manner to reduce or eliminate exposure to humans and the environment.

He said the major sources of mercury releases in Ghana were Gold extraction with mercury amalgamation from concentrate, informal dumping of general waste, use and disposal of mercury-added products, waste incineration and open waste burning.

Dr Adu-Kumi said, out of the total estimated mercury input (355,460 Kg Hg/y), 59,070 was emitted to air, 14,360 released to water and 274,300 released to land.

He said potential natural resources (land and water), people and communities close to ASGM sites adding, patients, health personnel and communities close to health facilities using mercury-added products.

Mr Louis Kuupen, the Assistant Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme said the Minamata Convention aimed at protecting human health and the environment from the anthropogenic emissions and release of mercury and mercury compounds.

He said the Convention was an important of UNDP’s efforts to achieve sustainable, inclusive and resilient human development through the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr Kuupen said the MIA report on mercury use, sources and releases in Ghana represented the collective efforts of several actors adding that, it was a positive demonstration of the commitment of the Government to fully implement its obligation as a party to the convention.

He said supporting countries in their efforts to prepare for and meet their future commitments under the Minamata Convention was an important component of UNDP’S mandate to achieve sustainable, inclusive and resilient human development through the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He, therefore, pledged the UNDP’s continued partnership with the Government of Ghana and other Development Partners for the realization of human development and environmental sustainability.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury was initiated in 2009 under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), agreed upon at the Fifth Session of the Inter-governmental Negotiating Committee in January 2013 and adopted at the Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Kumamoto, Japan on October 2013.

With the coming into force of the Convention in August 2017, State Parties are required to ensure that by the year 2020, a range of mercury-containing products are banned in their countries.

Receiving the Report, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations, reiterated the commitment of government to eliminate the use of mercury, especially in Artisanal and Small scale Gold Mining.

Source: GNA

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