Human activity has led to the re-mobilization of mercury within the environment. Mercury is a chemical of global concern since once it has entered the environment it persists, continuously cycling between land, air and water. The chemical also bioaccumulates up the food chain where it could eventually be ingested by humans. As a mechanism to treat with the adverse effects of this hazardous chemical on humans and the environment, the Minamata Convention on Mercury was established.
Trinidad and Tobago has not signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury, however, steps are being taken to assess the local mercury status. To this end, the country is participating in the project ‘Development of Minamata Initial Assessments in the Caribbean’. The Project seeks to allow participating countries to ratify and implement the Convention through the use of scientific knowledge and technical tools. This primarily refers to UNEP’s Toolkit for the identification and quantification of mercury releases, through the population of an inventory of mercury sources in the country.
| Dr. David
Persaud, Environmental Manager |
delivering the feature address. Seated to his
right are Dr. Ahmad Khan, Director,
BCRC-Caribbean and Dr. David Buck of the
Workshop Participants at the National Inception
Workshop engage in an interactive session
To officially initiate the project a National Inception Workshop was hosted by the Basel Convention Regional Centre for Training and Technology Transfer in the Caribbean Region (BCRC-Caribbean) at Cara Suites Hotel and Conference Centre on March 21st, 2017. The key objectives of the Workshop were to introduce stakeholders to the Minamata Initial Assessment Project; explain the data requirements of stakeholders; briefly explain the UNEP’s Toolkit for identification and quantification of mercury releases Inventory level 2; and facilitate meetings and site visits with the consultants and relevant stakeholders.
The participants at the Workshop comprised the key stakeholders required for the inventory component and ranged from public to private sector entities including: Ministries, academia, waste management, energy, manufacturing and NGOs.
Following the delivery of opening remarks by the Director of the BCRC-Caribbean, Dr. Ahmad Khan and Dr. David Persaud, Environmental Manager of the EPPD, Mr. Kishan Patloo, the National Project Coordinator for the Inventory Component gave an overview of the project and explained the role of stakeholders. This was followed by Dr. Winston McCalla, the Legal Consultant, who discussed his role of conducting a legislative review for the project. Dr. Buck, the Lead Technical Consultant for the Inventory Component coordinated the remainder of the proceedings, briefing the audience on the Toolkit and the inventory, highlighting numerous potential sources of mercury in the country, as well as sources of data for the Minamata Initial Assessment Report. During a highly interactive session prior to the closure of the Workshop participants were invited to confirm these sources and provide any additional data. They were also reminded of the importance of their cooperation to ensure the successful completion of the Project.