Mercury poses major environ and health risks threats: Experts

Staff Reporter

Islamabad

Ministry of Climate Change, Government of Pakistan in collaboration with Government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir organized awareness workshop to sensitize the stakeholders on ‘Minamata Initial Assessment& Training on Inventory of Mercury and Mercury Compounds / In-Products in Pakistan.
Raja Nisar Ahmed Khan, Minister for Law, Justice, Parliamentary Affairs & Human Rights, GoAJK appraised the Ministry of Climate Change initiative on phasing out of mercury use in the country and sharing its hazardous effects.
Raja Nisar Ahmed Khan, Minister for Law, Justice, Parliamentary Affairs & Human Rights, GoAJK, president the workshop while Farhat Ali Mir, Additional Chief Secretary General, Government of AJK, Dr Habib ur Rehman, Vice Chancellor, MUST University, Dr. Imran Ali, Assistant Professor, MUST University, Mirpur, Dr. Saiqa Andleeb, Assistant Professor, University of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Muzaffarabad, Raja Rizwan Ullah Khan, Assistant Professor MUST University, Mirpur, Dr. Uzma Hafeez, Assistant Professor, AJ&K Medical College, Muzaffarabad shared their experiences with the participants.
Dr. Mahmood A Khwaja SDPI/President, International Society of Doctors for Environment informed that in some dental teaching hospitals, indoor mercury levels are found to be 15 – 20 times which are higher than the permissible limit for human health. Mercury contamination measurements have recently been made by Lumex mercury analyzer, he added.
Dr. Zaigham Abbas, National Project Coordinator, MoCC, GoP said that raising awareness among the policy makers and general public is significantly important and MOCC in collaboration with other international organizations phasing out the usage of mercury in dentistry, hospitals and dentists.
Raja Muhammad Razzaque, Director General, EPA, AJK pointed out the usage of mercury products in the country and recommended guidelines to phase-out mercury usage.
Jinnah Dental Hospital, Muzaffarabad took the lead and announced mercury free dentistry in their hospital from today – February 1, 2017, said Dr. Shah Zaib, Chief Executive, Jinnah Dental Hospital.
The Mercury poses risks to environment and human health, especially the health of children. In Pakistan, mercury emission and transfer are mainly from extraction and use of fuels, intentional use of mercury in industrial processes, and other intentional processes such as dental mercury.
Pakistan is the signatory of Minamata Convention on Mercury and is responsible to implement the provisions of the international agreement and raise awareness about the importance of regulating the management and disposal of this toxic chemical element.
The other partners of the workshop included United Nations Environment Programme and GEF are in cooperation with Ministry of Climate Change to develop baselines for national mercury. The government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir is determined to develop national mercury to ensure health, environment protection from mercury poisoning, known as Minamata disease.

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