By hosting and facilitating a series of Round Table Meetings with relevant government ministries and stakeholders, Forum for Justice (FFJ) created a platform that provided opportunities to share and provide detailed information about the SAICM. Meetings were organized to address particular themes: POPs, Lead, Mercury, and E-waste. In each of the meetings, baseline information was shared about each problem area and specific action plans were laid out to meet the SAICM 2020 objectives.
Monitoring and Inventories
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.
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.
Continuing their work on mercury-related harms, Eco-Sense turned their attention to Veles, a city awash in mercury contamination (and other heavy metals) stemming from a now-defunct zinc smelter. Noting that the Veles smelter is often nicknamed the “Macedonian Chernobyl”, Eco-sense is committed to raising greater awareness in this heavily polluted area.
The EDEN Center conducted a ground-breaking assessment of the area around an abandoned battery plant to test for lead contamination. After a series of stakeholder meetings and workshops, residents of Uznova (Municipality of Berat) agreed to answer questions about lead exposure and give blood samples for testing. Air, soil, and water were also tested. A report with the findings of the assessment (and recommendations) was delivered to government agencies, shared with the community, and distributed through the media.
The districts located in the Syrdaryinskaya oblast contain numerous obsolete pesticide burial sites. Although officials maintain the safety of these burial sites, ARMON's independent assessment showed that these sites are leaking pesticides into the air and ground water, are not properly safeguarded against the theft of pesticides, and appear to be a major cause of adverse health impacts in the surrounding communities. In addition, ARMON identified several burial sites not accounted for by official government records, also leaking pesticides.
The Chapaevsk Medical Association tested 21 food samples from three Russian cities for levels of BPA, determining that 81% of the samples were contaminated. Canned infant food was found to have some of the highest levels of contamination. Results were shared at several seminars and workshops with physicians, chemists, government officials, industry leaders, and other NGOs.
Responding to the lack of regulation on E-waste in Thailand, Ecological Alert and Recovery, Thailand (EARTH) researched the the amount of used cell phone batteries in Thailand and how they have been managed by surveying and interviewing cell phone sellers in selected markets (as well as mobile phone distributors, battery distributors, network service providers, and companies specializing in recycling). Following this, EARTH compiled a report outlining their findings, which was used to raise awareness about the problem among national and local authorities as well as general consumers.
Alianza por una Mejor Calidad de Vida organized a series of workshops and staged a media campaign with a national TV network to create public awareness about the dangers of pesticides in food. This included developing brochures tailored to the communities most affected by the use hazardous pesticides. An expose of pesticide poisoning cases of rural and seasonal female workers was also shared with the public. In addition, they worked closely with a prominent member of the National Congress to introduce legislation that would phase out the most hazardous and highly toxic pesticides.