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A Toxics-Free Future

Minamata Disease

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/30/world/asia/indonesia-gold-environment-mercury.html

One large mining company is trying to shut illegal operations, which use mercury. The small-scale miners say there’s no other way to earn a living.

By Richard C. Paddock

Photographs by Adam Dean

Today, at the opening session of the Mercury Treaty COP3, Mr. Koichiro Matsunaga, Minamata Disease Patient, addressed the delegates in plenary. In a moving statement, Mr. Matsunaga, who was exposed to mercury in the womb, reminded delegates of the real-life implications of mercury poisoning. Born in 1963, Mr. Matsunaga could not walk until 7 years old due to Minamata Disease. Despite his disabilities, he enjoyed riding bicycles, but in 2010, it became difficult for him to walk because of increasing pain, which forced him to live in a wheelchair. He stated, "Minamata disease is not over yet. Problems have not been solved yet. I do not want to see any more children suffer like us." He implored delegates: "Please take appropriate control of mercury for future children. I need the whole world to avoid causing any more tragedy by mercury."

A small mine on Sumbawa. Miners often dig for ore on land without permission or government permits. Credit...Adam Dean for The New York Times

New York Times - Hidden Cost of Gold

By

CIDAHU, Indonesia — Thousands of children with crippling birth defects. Half a million people poisoned. A toxic chemical found in the food supply. Accusations of a government cover-up and police officers on the take.

This is the legacy of Indonesia’s mercury trade, a business intertwined with the lucrative and illegal production of gold.

https://www.daily-mail.co.zm/minamata-disease-the-case-of-shinobu-sakamoto-of-japan/?utm_content=buffer30d9a&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

It is now more than 60 years since the Minamata disease manifested affecting many people and leading to the deaths of many more. Minamata disease is a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning.

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