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IPEN

A Toxics-Free Future

Minamata Convention

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=8&v=Y55OPHSEdWE

For tens of thousands of people in Western Kenya, gold mining is a way of making a living.

On informal mines across the region, women use mercury to bring out the gold. But a recent study conducted by a network of international charities has found that the chemical could be slowly killing them - and affecting the wider community.

Photo Credit: Global Environment Facility. Artisanal small-scale gold mining is responsible for up to 35% of anthropogenic mercury emissions.

The tragedy of Minamata may be a thing of the past for many, but as the world unites to take action on mercury pollution the dangers remain all too real.

At first it was a mystery. Three young girls stricken with an unknown disease in April of 1956, slurring their words, struggling to walk and suffering unexplained convulsions. Soon there were eight patients. By October there were 40 – 14 of whom had died. And the numbers kept growing.

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