Authorities in Ghana have taken steps to phase out items and chemicals that contain mercury in line with the Minamata Convention on Mercury, an official has said.
Sam Adu-Kumi, Director for Chemicals Control and Management Centre and Registrar of Pesticides of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), stressed the need for some level of urgency in public education and sensitisation of decision makers to achieve this goal.
This, he said, was important considering the harmful effects of mercury on the environment and human life.
“Mercury discharged into the atmosphere and in the environment contaminates the food chain for plants, animals and finally affects humans who consume them,” he told the media in Accra on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at a workshop themed: “Minamata Convention: Roles and responsibilities of Ghana’s health sector”.
The Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury, was adopted by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries held in Minamata and Kumamoto, Japan, in 2013.
“We were given up to 2020 to complete the phasing out or phasing down process, but looking at the magnitude of work involved, we have requested for extension, so we are now expected to complete the process by 2025,” the official said.
The workshop was organised by the United Nations Development Programme – Global Environment Facility (UNDP-GEF) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, and in partnership with Ecological Restorations. It was aimed at raising awareness among relevant stakeholders on the Minamata Convention.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) categorises mercury as a “global threat to human and environmental health” because of its harmful effects to human health and environmental ecosystems.