The Gambia on Wednesday became the 33rd country in the world to ratify the Minata Convention on Mercury.
The Convention seeks to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.
Moving the Motion for adoption before deputies at the National Assembly Chambers in Banjul yesterday (Wednesday), Hon. Pa Ousman Jarju, Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, informed that the Convention had already been ratified by 32 others before Gambia’s ratification.
Mercury, he told the lawmakers, is a metal characterised by being an odourless liquid at room temperature and easily volatilised. “Owning to this physicochemical properties, mercury has been widely used historically in many applications and as a catalyst in several production processes including but not limited to the production of electrical and electronic equipment and measuring devices and extraction of metals and dental amalgams. In The Gambia, it is mainly found in electrical appliances, electronics and measuring devices in hospitals, in certain fluorescent tubes, cosmetics, soap, waste stream etc,” he told deputies.
According to him, mercury is extremely harmful, given its persistence, and mobility in the atmosphere, its ability to form organic compounds and to bio accumulative in living organisms. “Mercury causes damage to health and permanent changes in the nervous system particularly impairing the developing nervous system, among others.”
The reduction of mercury use, he added will have positive impact, especially on poor populations.
The implementation of the Convention, he told deputies, will commenc as soon as possible with involvement of key stakeholders.
Seconding the Motion, Hon. Ousman Bah of Sabach Sanjal Constituency commend Minister Jarju and said the importance of the Convention cannot be overemphasised.
He urged his fellow NAMs to ratify the Convention, considering the numerous benefits that come with the Convention.
Hon Lamin Jadama of Niamina West, Hon. Abdou Colley of Kombo South, Nominated Member Hon. Lamin Saine, and Hon. Muhammed Magassy of Basse, all underscored the importance of preserving the environment, saying the Convention was timely and apt.
They harped on the need for attitudinal change and the need for awareness creation on the Convention.
by Alieu Ceesay