Mercury and the Environment and Human Health

Africa hosts a third of the world’s mineral wealth and has significant deposits of gold, Zimbabwe is no exception. The country’s endowment with vast gold reserves has given rise to artisanal gold mining, whose use of mercury in gold processing has brought several environmental and health impacts. World over, emerging evidence indicates that artisanal and small scale gold mining related mercury contamination,  is contributing to serious health and ecological impacts and has raised concern among environmentalists.

Mercury is a persistent, highly toxic heavy metal whose continued inhalation can cause death.  It is estimated that artisanal small scale miners, mostly from vulnerable backgrounds, active in the gold and diamond sectors, constitute more than half of all mineral exploitation in the world. UN environment estimates that 3, 5 million people are at risk of health impacts in artisanal and small scale gold mining sector of which 2, 5 million are in Africa. A research (Global Mercury Project) by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) which was conducted between  2007 to 2012 revealed that Zimbabwe had an estimated 500 000 artisanal gold miners, the number is expected to have increased over the years.

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Mercury and Artisanal Mining

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Call for masters research proposals 2018

 

In response to the current imperative by the New Government towards linking research and development, the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, has taken this initiative to engage local universities in environmental research. The Agency is mandated to regulate, monitor and promote sustainable management of natural resources and the protection of the environment with stakeholder participation. In this regard, EMA invites research proposals focusing on the outlined research themes.  Read more...

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The Environmental Management Agency is a statutory body responsible for ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources and protection of the environment, the prevention of pollution and environmental degradation, the preparation of Environmental Plans for the management and protection of the environment. It was established under the Environmental Management Act [Chapter 20:27] and operationalised on the 17th of March 2003 through SI 103 of 2003.

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