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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

Images of land disturbances at ASGM sites in Tarkwa, Western Region (upper and middle photos) and the Talensi District, Upper East Region (bottom photo).
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ijerph-12-08971-f012: Images of land disturbances at ASGM sites in Tarkwa, Western Region (upper and middle photos) and the Talensi District, Upper East Region (bottom photo).

Mentions: ASGM landscapes are often significantly altered from their previous natural state, with vegetation and soil layers removed and land left with piles of waste tailings, shallow dug-outs, and deep pits (Figure 12) [91]. The ecological and human health risks posed by un-reclaimed and abandoned mines have been documented [9,103,104], but current country-wide estimates of the extent of damage specifically attributable to ASGM are sparse. The most widely cited figure estimates 15,000 ha of land in Ghana was disturbed by small-scale mining in 1995 [105]. This was before the rapid expansion of the industry, and thus the current extant of land disturbance is likely much greater.


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)

Images of land disturbances at ASGM sites in Tarkwa, Western Region (upper and middle photos) and the Talensi District, Upper East Region (bottom photo).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

ijerph-12-08971-f012: Images of land disturbances at ASGM sites in Tarkwa, Western Region (upper and middle photos) and the Talensi District, Upper East Region (bottom photo).
Mentions: ASGM landscapes are often significantly altered from their previous natural state, with vegetation and soil layers removed and land left with piles of waste tailings, shallow dug-outs, and deep pits (Figure 12) [91]. The ecological and human health risks posed by un-reclaimed and abandoned mines have been documented [9,103,104], but current country-wide estimates of the extent of damage specifically attributable to ASGM are sparse. The most widely cited figure estimates 15,000 ha of land in Ghana was disturbed by small-scale mining in 1995 [105]. This was before the rapid expansion of the industry, and thus the current extant of land disturbance is likely much greater.

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