Article by Ruth Ondiso.
As if banning of plastic bags in Kenya was enough and a clear gesture of conserving the environment and protecting health, combating another hazardous threat to the environment and health comes in as a surprise. Mercury pollution is a one major hit to life that always goes unnoticed. In the move to curb the sale and use of mercury Kenya and South Africa have been accused for supplying mercury content products across the world from the UNEP report released on the eve of the conference titled, Global Mercury Supply, Trade and Demand.
The UN in their first sitting , a conference held on Sunday in Geneva, Switzerland countries pledged to regulate and monitor trade in mercury and cut on its use in artisanal and small scale gold mining; the largest source of mercury pollution. The international community has promised to ban new mining site and closing existing mines. In this bid, more than 150 countries have gathered in Geneva to accrue their collective efforts to end this menace.
The Manimata convention is an agreement meant to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. Kenya has been noted according to the released report for supplying mercury from Nairobi via the Port of Mombasa to Tanzania, Uganda and The Democratic Republic of Congo; However, all these supplies have not been documented but their recipients on the receiving end have the proof of the supplies.
The noted major emitters of this content, mercury, are thermostats, coal burning and medical devices like thermometers. Most the counties affected in Kenya include; Turkana, West Pokot, Vihiga, Kisumu, Kakamega, Migori and Siaya where these activities take place.
This move by the UN is destined to be a savior for many who are not well versed with the fatal effects mercury causes to their health and the environment.