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.
Awareness-raising and Education
A situational analysis of POPs in the Morogoro Hotspot Area was conducted by Tanzania Association of Public Occupational and Environmental Health Experts (TAPOHE) in 2011. Participatory survey methods including desk review, in-depth interviews with key informants, focused group discussions and participants’ observations were used to collect data. Additionally, soil and biota samples (plants) were collected for pesticide chemical analysis. Findings from the situational analysis confirmed that Morogoro is one of the most DDT (and other obsolete pesticides)- contaminated sites in the country.
In this project, Ecological Center Dront assessed the situation of mercury-containing light bulb contamination in Nizhniy Novgorod. Organizers examined existing legislation in the Russian Federation and, using this information, formally submitted requests to 28 Housing Maintenance Facilities (HMF) to implement an officially sanctioned program to collect used mercury light bulbs.
A 3-day workshop was organized by Cameroon Pesticide Action Network to raise awareness about the FAO Code of conduct on the production, distribution and use of pesticides. Topics included a general background on pesticides, dangers of pesticide use on humans and the environment, pesticides registration in Cameroon, alternatives, the IPM concept and its implementation in Cameroon, etc. Civil society, Farmers' Associations, pesticides importers and distributors and government representatives attended.
Eco-Sense conducted several activities as part of its continuing efforts to inform the public about the dangers of mercury pollution. These included translating five informative fact sheets about mercury (how toxic it is, how it is used by the health care industry, how one becomes exposed to it through fish consumption, how to manage small spills, and what alternatives exist) into Macedonian. Eco-Sense also contracted with the Chemistry Institute to test 33 hair samples for mercury.
JVE Cote Divoire conducted an awareness-raising campaign to educate workers, governent officials, and the general public about the risks of mercury exposure from human activity in the country. These activities include mining, burning of e-waste and medical wastes, and the use of cosmetics containing mercury. This was done in four phases: First, workers most at risk to mercury exposure were convened and educated about objectives of the project and the means used for its realization.
Institut za ruralni razvoj i ekologiju (IRRE) held a public seminar and produced an 8-page booklet to help Croatia’s agricultural stakeholders move towards complying with a recent national law mandating the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Through this seminar and accompanying booklet, farmers and other relevant stakeholders were educated about the tenets of IPM including fertilization and plant stress, crop rotation, soil health, and pesticide waste management.
Eco-Ethics International worked on community capacity building (centered in Owino Uhuru in Mombasa) that served to bring awareness and promote policy action concerning the dangerous levels of lead contamination (primarily through lead extraction from car batteries) that have been documented in the environment and in area residents.
In 2010, the NGO groundWork (Friends of the Earth South Africa) convened over 65 farmers from around the country who expressed a desire to educate themselves about the safe handling and proper use of pesticides. Over the course of two days, participants took part in educational sessions that included guided tours of farms practicing permaculture and organic practices. Other interactive discussion sessions featured conversations about basic workplace safety.