Uganda's Health, Minerals Ministries To Jointly Combat Mercury Emission

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In short
The liquid chemical has attracted global concern over its harmful effects to humans. In Uganda, mercury is widely used for processing gold among the artisanal and small scale gold miners, while in health units it is used for measuring temperature. The chemical is also used in meteorology department for measuring atmospheric pressure among others but little is known or done to reduce its adverse effects.

The ministries of Health, Energy and Minerals Development are in the process of forming a partnership intended to tackle the use and emission of mercury.
 
The liquid chemical has attracted global concern over its harmful effects to humans. In Uganda, mercury is widely used for processing gold among the artisanal and small scale gold miners, while in health units it is used for measuring temperature. The chemical is also used in meteorology department for measuring atmospheric pressure among others but little is known or done to reduce its adverse effects.
 
As a result, the two ministries say they plan to partner to regulate mercury usage and emission. Dr Jacinto Amandwa, a Commissioner for Clinical Services in the Ministry of Health, told Uganda Radio Network that they plan to work with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to devise ways of controlling mercury use. Amandwa said artisanal and small scale mining is among areas described as ‘high risk exposure’.
 
Dr Amandwa explained that managers of waste are also exposed to the dangers of mercury, which he said could cause death over time. He said mercury poses adverse effects to the body because once it enters the human body system, it cannot be excreted.
 
He cited the health risk that many people face from eating food crops cultivated in wetlands and fish from the water bodies that could be contaminated by mercury.
 
Recently, Uganda Radio Network visited the gold mines in Namayingo district where local miners dump the mercury containing residue from the gold extraction process into the wetland, a process that could essentially contaminate all the small and big water bodies in the area. Namayingo is located in eastern Uganda on the shores of Lake Victoria.
 
Despite the potential risks, there appears to be no measure aimed at curbing the use and emission of mercury. But Amandwa says they plan to work with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to tackle the problem. Already, the Health ministry says it’s phasing out mercury containing devices in health units.
 
//Cue in: “We will try...
Cue out: ...into the food chain.”//