Ghana solicits support to implement Minamata Convention on Mercury
The Government on Tuesday reiterated its commitment towards implementing the provisions of Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury.
However, Ghana is appealing to the Secretariat of the Convention to provide technical and financial assistance to be able to implement the convention.
Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and innovation made the appeal at the African Regional Preparatory meeting for the third meeting of the Conference of Parties held in Accra.
The Minamata Convention entered into force on 16 August 2017, on the 90th day after the date of deposit of the 50th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng stated that to demonstrate its willingness, Ghana established a permanent multi-stakeholder and multi-sectorial Minamata Convention Implementation Committee to deliberate on the implementation path.
Other steps, he said was the development of Minamata Initial Assessment (MIA) in 2018, and the implementation of the hazardous and electronic waste control and management and its regulations.
“Under the MIA, some of the priority areas are the development of legal framework, implementation of measures to phase-out the use of mercury added products from the health sector and phase-down the use of dental amalgam,” he said.
“We are seeking to reduce and where feasible, eliminate the use of mercury and mercury compound in Artisanal and Small Scale Mining”.
Dr Sam Adu-Kumi, Director, Chemicals Control and Management Centre/Registrar of Pesticides Environmental Protection Agency said the 2010 global inventory conducted by the UNEP, ASGM was responsible for the major source of mercury emitted into the atmosphere at 727 tonnes per year.
He said dental amalgamation, cement production and the production of iron were other anthropogenic activities that accounted for large sources of global emissions of mercury into the air
Dr Adu-Kumi said although mercury was a naturally occurring element, human activities (mainly industrial sources- the combustion of fossil fuels, mining, smelting, waste combustion) had increased the amount of mercury accumulated into the atmosphere and the natural environment as a whole.
He said Mercury was a poisonous substance, which when ingested or inhaled might produce significant adverse neurological and other health effects such as digestive and immune system dysfunction, diseases of the lungs, kidney, skin and the eyes.
He said the harmful effects of mercury on vulnerable populations, particularly unborn children, children, and women of child-bearing age (especially pregnant women) were of particular concern.
He said mercury could persist in the environment, bio- accumulate through the food web and pose a risk of causing adverse effect to human health and the environment.
Ghana ratified the Convention in 2017.