Awareness-raising and Education
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.
In order to understand the contamination from heavy metals in Moldovan fish (imported and domestic) ECOTOX analyzed fish bought in local markets and fish farms, identified the supply chain of imported fish, summarized data from previous sampling projects, organized a round table with local fish farmers, and disseminated information found from their work through TV media. These efforts produced a wealth of data on the levels of heavy metals found in many species of fish.
DISHA conducted an overall awareness and education campaign to educate local hospital employees and high school science students about the proper handling of mercury. With direct collaboration from local government environmental agencies, a series of trainings and workshops educated individuals about the dangers of mercury, the proper way to handle mercury in case of a spill, and how to reduce mercury use by using alternative equipment. Educational print media was developed and tailored for each of the target audiences.
UNETMAC collected samples from 50 paint containers to test for lead content. Samples were prepared in Uganda and sent to the US for analysis. Out of the eight brands of the paint samples tested, three brands were found to contain significant concentrations of lead. Additionally, 1,000 fact sheets about lead in paint were prepared, produced, and disseminated at a press conference and later at a workshop of the National Environment Management Authority.
In this project, Resource Centre Leskovac sought to understand the level of community knowledge about toxic chemicals in toys, and also tested specific toys for toxic ingredients. Research was therefore done with 150 health workers/parents (with children from 2 -12 years of age) in health institutions in four local communities to determine their awareness. Next, four groups of toys, divided by materials (metal, plastic, wood and rubber) were tested for heavy metals, phthalates and formaldehyde chemicals.