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Lawmakers ratify Miniamata Convention on Mercury

Oct 7, 2016, 10:34 AM | Article By: Kaddijatou Jawo

National Assembly members Wednesday ratified the Miniamata Convention on Mercury.

The motion was tabled by Pa Ousman Jarju, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources and was seconded by Hon. Haddy Nyang Jagne, National Assembly Member for Jeshwang.

Tabling the motion before deputies, the Environment minister said the convention was signed and adopted by The Gambia in October 2013.

The convention seeks to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.

For this reason, he went on, in 2001, the governing council of UNEP invited the Executive Director of UNEP to undertake a global assessment of mercury and its compound.

In 2003, he added, the governing council considered this assessment, and found that there was sufficient evidence of significant global adverse impacts from mercury and its compound to warrant further international action to reduce the risks to human health and the environment, from the release of mercury and its compounds to the environment.

Minister Jarju further noted that the Convention was ratified by 32 countries, and The Gambia becomes the 33rd country to ratify it.

He said the Miniamata Convention on Mercury would come into full effect if 50 parties ratified the convention.

Mr Jarju noted that Mercury is a metal characterised by being an odorless liquid at room temperature and easily volatilised.

“Mercury is extremely harmful given its persistence; its mobility in the atmosphere; its ability to form organic compounds and to bio-accumulate in living organism,” he said.

Mercury causes damage to health and permanent changes in the nervous system, particularly impairing the developing nervous system, among many others, he stated.

He said addressing the environmental and health hazards associated with mercury is, therefore, crucial to ensure that hard won development gains are not compromised.