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Integrated Assessment of Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Ghana-Part 2: Natural Sciences Review.

Rajaee M, Obiri S, Green A, Long R, Cobbina SJ, Nartey V, Buck D, Antwi E, Basu N - Int J Environ Res Public Health (2015)

Bottom Line: This paper focuses on the causes, status, trends, and consequences of ecological issues related to ASGM activity in Ghana.Soil and water mercury concentrations were generally lower than guideline values, but sediment mercury concentrations surpassed guideline values in 64% of samples.Additional ASGM-related stressors on environmental quality and ecosystem services include deforestation, land degradation, biodiversity loss, legacy contamination, and potential linkages to climate change.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. mrajae@umich.edu.

ABSTRACT
This paper is one of three synthesis documents produced via an integrated assessment (IA) that aims to increase understanding of artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in Ghana. Given the complexities surrounding ASGM, an integrated assessment (IA) framework was utilized to analyze socio-economic, health, and environmental data, and co-develop evidence-based responses with stakeholders. This paper focuses on the causes, status, trends, and consequences of ecological issues related to ASGM activity in Ghana. It reviews dozens of studies and thousands of samples to document evidence of heavy metals contamination in ecological media across Ghana. Soil and water mercury concentrations were generally lower than guideline values, but sediment mercury concentrations surpassed guideline values in 64% of samples. Arsenic, cadmium, and lead exceeded guideline values in 67%, 17%, and 24% of water samples, respectively. Other water quality parameters near ASGM sites show impairment, with some samples exceeding guidelines for acidity, turbidity, and nitrates. Additional ASGM-related stressors on environmental quality and ecosystem services include deforestation, land degradation, biodiversity loss, legacy contamination, and potential linkages to climate change. Though more research is needed to further elucidate the long-term impacts of ASGM on the environment, the plausible consequences of ecological damages should guide policies and actions to address the unique challenges posed by ASGM.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Framework linking key drivers and impacted natural systems. Principal domains of inquiry are highlighted. Framework is adapted from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment [7].
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4555259&req=5

ijerph-12-08971-f001: Framework linking key drivers and impacted natural systems. Principal domains of inquiry are highlighted. Framework is adapted from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment [7].

Mentions: Artisanal and small-scale gold mining, like other extractive activities, raises numerous environmental concerns. Emissions of mercury (Hg) into the atmosphere as well as direct releases of mercury to soil and water are of primary concern because of the extensive use of mercury to amalgamate gold by artisanal miners. Recent estimates suggest that the ASGM sector is the primary source of mercury into the global atmosphere, accounting for approximately 37% (727 tonnes) of all global emissions [6]. While mercury has gained most attention, there exist many other direct and indirect factors that contribute to poor ecological conditions in ASGM communities (Figure 1). This necessitates that impacts on the natural system, as well as planning for interventions be viewed under a broad ecosystem lens.


Integrated Assessment of Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Ghana-Part 2: Natural Sciences Review.

Rajaee M, Obiri S, Green A, Long R, Cobbina SJ, Nartey V, Buck D, Antwi E, Basu N - Int J Environ Res Public Health (2015)

Framework linking key drivers and impacted natural systems. Principal domains of inquiry are highlighted. Framework is adapted from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment [7].
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4555259&req=5

ijerph-12-08971-f001: Framework linking key drivers and impacted natural systems. Principal domains of inquiry are highlighted. Framework is adapted from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment [7].
Mentions: Artisanal and small-scale gold mining, like other extractive activities, raises numerous environmental concerns. Emissions of mercury (Hg) into the atmosphere as well as direct releases of mercury to soil and water are of primary concern because of the extensive use of mercury to amalgamate gold by artisanal miners. Recent estimates suggest that the ASGM sector is the primary source of mercury into the global atmosphere, accounting for approximately 37% (727 tonnes) of all global emissions [6]. While mercury has gained most attention, there exist many other direct and indirect factors that contribute to poor ecological conditions in ASGM communities (Figure 1). This necessitates that impacts on the natural system, as well as planning for interventions be viewed under a broad ecosystem lens.

Bottom Line: This paper focuses on the causes, status, trends, and consequences of ecological issues related to ASGM activity in Ghana.Soil and water mercury concentrations were generally lower than guideline values, but sediment mercury concentrations surpassed guideline values in 64% of samples.Additional ASGM-related stressors on environmental quality and ecosystem services include deforestation, land degradation, biodiversity loss, legacy contamination, and potential linkages to climate change.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. mrajae@umich.edu.

ABSTRACT
This paper is one of three synthesis documents produced via an integrated assessment (IA) that aims to increase understanding of artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in Ghana. Given the complexities surrounding ASGM, an integrated assessment (IA) framework was utilized to analyze socio-economic, health, and environmental data, and co-develop evidence-based responses with stakeholders. This paper focuses on the causes, status, trends, and consequences of ecological issues related to ASGM activity in Ghana. It reviews dozens of studies and thousands of samples to document evidence of heavy metals contamination in ecological media across Ghana. Soil and water mercury concentrations were generally lower than guideline values, but sediment mercury concentrations surpassed guideline values in 64% of samples. Arsenic, cadmium, and lead exceeded guideline values in 67%, 17%, and 24% of water samples, respectively. Other water quality parameters near ASGM sites show impairment, with some samples exceeding guidelines for acidity, turbidity, and nitrates. Additional ASGM-related stressors on environmental quality and ecosystem services include deforestation, land degradation, biodiversity loss, legacy contamination, and potential linkages to climate change. Though more research is needed to further elucidate the long-term impacts of ASGM on the environment, the plausible consequences of ecological damages should guide policies and actions to address the unique challenges posed by ASGM.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus