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UNEP to address global mercury pollution

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Contact: Claudia Monlouis

Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - Saint Lucia is to be represented at a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) workshop to address Global Mercury Pollution, to be held in Trinidad and Tobago. The workshop is part of series to raise awareness of the presence of mercury in the environment.

St. Lucia will be represented at the workshop by Senior Occupational Health and Safety Officer in the Ministry of Labour, Lesmond Magloire and Project Coordinator for the Persistent Organic Pollutants Project (POPS) in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Shirlene Simmons.

St. Lucia is expected to make a presentation describing the island’s status where mercury is concerned.

Speaking to the Government Information Service about the significance of the workshop to the Ministry’s work plan, Ms. Simmons said, “This gives the government an opportunity to do a national and comprehensive assessment of mercury and mercury pollution in Saint Lucia, with the further hope of developing and incorporating it into a national chemicals management programme and strategy.”

However, Ms. Simmons believes that by all indications, mercury pollution in Saint Lucia is quite minimal: “Countries like Guyana and Suriname, where they have mining and therefore use mercury, especially in gold mining, because mercury is used to separate the gold from the elements whether it be soil, sand, etc. may have an issue with mercury, but us in Saint Lucia, I don’t see us having an issue with regard to mercury.”

The workshop, which takes place from January 18th to 21st, will provide a forum for discussion on identifying and quantifying sources of mercury, prevention of pollution, and techniques and technologies that can minimize the release of mercury.

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