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A Toxics-Free Future


National Public Education and Awareness Creation on the Minamata Convention

Ecological Restorations has completed a highly successful awareness-raising and public education project aimed at furthering stakeholder knowledge of the human health and environmental impacts of mercury. This is especially relevant in Ghana where artisanal small-scale gold mining (ASGM) involves mercury use, resulting in the release of many tonnes of mercury to the environment in recent years. Ecological Restorations held very successful meetings with media, policy makers and artisanal gold miners which highlighted the need to ratify the Minamata Convention and move to rapid implementation of the Treaty provisions. While ASGM is an allowed use under the Mercury Treaty, Ecological Restorations used this project to share information with miners on how they can protect themselves from mercury intoxication and implement mercury-free ASGM methods. Highlights of the project include broad stakeholder interest, significant media coverage of the issue and impacts at policy level. Since taking part in the stakeholder events with Ecological Restorations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Ghana has now included mercury issues in the national monitoring and evaluation schedules for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the country. The EPA is also in the process of drafting a Chemicals Bill and has agreed to include measures to regulate mercury in the Bill. The Association for ASGM miners has invited Ecological Restorations to hold workshops for all its 5,000 members on mercury-free ASGM techniques and planning is underway for this activity. This project has specific relevance to articles 3, 7, 11, 12, 16 and 18 of the Mercury Treaty.

Some participants at the workshop held by Ecological Restorations. Photo by Ecological Restorations.