Main Article Content
Aims: To determine the amount of mercury discharged into Namukombe stream, the major water body in Syanyonja village, Busia gold district and investigate the impacts of mercury-based artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) on the mining population and the environment.
Study Design: Quantitation of mercury discharged with tailings was done by mass balance method. Field survey at the mining sites was done followed by administration of questionnaires to 50 stampeders in the village.
Place and Duration of Study: The study was done in Syanyonja village in Syanyonja parish, Busitema subcounty, Samia Bugwe constituency, Busia gold district, South East of the Republic of Uganda between April 2019 to June 2019.
Methodology: Fieldwork was done in Syanyonja village to appreciate the level of environmental pollution due to mercurial ASGM in the area. Quantitation of mercury discharged with tailings was done by mass balance method. Field survey at the mining sites was done followed by administration of 50 questionnaires to stampeders of at least 18 years old and ASGM experience of not less one year.
Results: About 8% of mercury mixed with auriferous materials is lost in tailings, accounting for an annual mercury release of about 1.757 kg into the environment. Socio-demographic results indicated that the majority of the mining population (64%) are male and ASGM have left human health and environmental footprints, which directly or indirectly affects the population. The most common health problems among miners are malaria (36%) and abdominal pain (20%). The standard of living of the miners are evidently low, and most mines are characterized by school dropouts, prostitutes and thieves. Mining sites have deplorably poor hygiene, with evident burning of amalgams to recover gold.
Conclusion: ASGM have been accompanied by wanton mowing down of vegetation, land degradation as well as mercuric pollution of water, air, land and aquatic ecosystems. It is suggested that the Ugandan government should re-enforce committees to follow up on ASGM activities and train artisans on sustainable (non-mercury) alternative gold extraction methods that do not create new toxic exposures such as using borax, magnets and sluice boxes. Artisans should take up farming actively as an alternative.
World Bank. Uganda Overview. Available:http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/uganda/overview
PwC. Uganda Economic Outlook 2017: Q3; 2017.
Uganda Investment Authority. Mining Sector Profile; 2016.
Omara T, Adupa E, Laker F, Kalukusu R, Owori T. Potential of Sorghum bicolor L. (Moench) and the Effectiveness of Some Organic Amendments in Remediation of Petroleum-Oil Vitiated Soils of an Automobile Repair Workshop in Urbanite Kampala. Asian J Appl Chem Res. 2019; 3(1):1-10.
Omara T, Karungi S, Kalukusu R, Nakabuye BV, Kagoya S, Musau B. Mercuric Pollution of Surface Water, Superficial sediments, Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis nilotica Linnaeus 1758 [Cichlidae]) and Yams (Dioscorea alata) in Auriferous Areas of Namukombe Stream, Syanyonja, Busia-Uganda. PeerJ. 2019; 7:e7919.
Hinton J, Kabongo I, Kabiswa C, Okedi J & Mbabazi R. The mining and mineralization sector in Karamoja Region: Development opportunities and Constraints. Ecological Christian Organization (ECO), 2011.
Nyakecho C, Hagemann SG. An overview of gold systems in Uganda. Aust J Earth Sci. 2014;61(1):1-30.
Mbonimpa A. The genesis and characteristics of the gold mineralisation in the area between River Malaba and River Solo in Busia district, South Eastern Uganda. MSc dissertation, Makerere University, Uganda; 2005. Available:http://makir.mak.ac.ug/bitstream/handle/10570/2724/Mbonimpa%20Alex.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Analysis of Formalization Approaches in the artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining Sector Based on Experiences in Ecuador, Mongolia, Peru, Tanzania and Uganda. Uganda Case study; 2012.
Mallongi A, Parkpian P, Pataranawat P, Chinwetkivanich S. Mercury Distribution and its Potential Environmental and Health Risks in Aquatic Habitat at Artisanal Buladu Gold Mine in Gorontalo Province, Indonesia. Pak J Nutr. 2015;14(12):1010-2025. Available:http://dx.doi.org/10.3923/pjn.2015.1010.1025
Patricio C, Velasquez-Lopez, Veiga MM & Hall K. Mercury Balance in Amalgamation in Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining: Identifying Strategies for Reducing Environmental Pollution in Portovelo-Zaruma, Ecuador. J Cleaner Prod. 2009; 18(3):226-232.
Action Coalition Climate Change (ACCC). Status and Extent of Mercury–use by Artisanal and Small–Scale Gold Miners in Selected Gold Mining Sites of Mubende and Busia Districts, Uganda. Research Paper No. 1, 2018, Kampala, Uganda.
Elias C, Deborah SKT, Dewey D, Davey M, Ngallaba SE, Konje E. A Cross-Sectional Survey on Knowledge and Perceptions of Health Risks Associated with Arsenic and Mercury Contamination from Artisanal Gold Mining in Tanzania. BMC Publ Health. 2003;13(74):8. Available:https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/1471-2458-13-74
COWI. Country Reports on Mercury Trade and Use for ASGM. Appendix to the Report "Mercury Trade and Use for ASGM in Sub-Saharan Africa''. 2016. http://cegemi.com/wp-content/uploads/ 2016/02/Mercury-Sub-Saharan-Africa-Trade-Report-12-December.pdf
United Nations Environment Programme. Global Mercury Assessment 2013: Sources, Emissions, Releases and Environmental Transport; UNEP: Geneva, Switzerland; 2013.
Appleton D, Drasch G, Böese-O'Reilly S, Roider G, Lister R, Taylor H, et al. The GEF/UNDP/UNIDO Global Mercury Project -Environmental and Health Results from a Small-Scale Gold Mining Site in Tanzania; 2005.
Ngabiirwe W, Tumwesigye RB, Muloopa HB. Human rights status in the gold supply chain of Uganda: A case for artisanal small-scale mining in Karamoja region. Global Rights Alert; 2012.
Available:https://www.globalrightsalert.org/sites/default/files/Assessment_of_HR_SS-Chain_% 20of_% 20Minerals_% 20A_case_%20ASM_%20in_Karamoja%20.pdf
Barreto ML, Schein P, Hinton J and Hruschka F. Understanding the Economic Contribution of small-Scale Mining in East Africa’ covering Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. Economic Contributions of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining in Uganda: Gold and Clay; 2018.
Available:http://www.responsiblemines.org/wp-content/ uploads/ 2018/03/ Uganda_case_study.pdf
Aljazeera. Uganda's gold boom leaves small-scale miners behind; 2019. Available:https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/uganda-gold-boom-leaves-small-scale-miners-190719030225658.html
Global Rights Alert. Working conditions of women in mining. A case of Buhweju and Mubende gold mining sites.
Daily Monitor. Women Exploited in Buhweju Mines; 2018.
Minamata Cop 1: Brief on mercury and artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM); 2017.
Obase R, Ngoran G, Nde F, Henry L, Ngwane G. Impact of artisanal gold mining on human health and the environment in the Batouri gold district, East Cameroon. Acad J Interdiscipl Stud. 2018;7(1):25- 44.
World Health Organization. Artisanal and small-scale gold mining and health. Technical paper 1: environmental and occupational health hazards associated with artisanal and small-scale gold mining; 2016.
Mostafazadeh B, Kiani A, Mohamadi E, Shaki F, Shirazi FH. Mercury exposure of gold mining workers in the northwest of Iran. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2013;26(6): 1267-1270.
Muheki S, Geenen S. Women in (and out of) artisanal mining: a call for revising Uganda’s Draft Mining and Minerals Policy. Analysis and Policy Brief no. 25. Institute of Development Policy, University of Antwerp. 2017;6.
Risher JF, Amler SN. Mercury exposure: Evaluation and intervention the inappropriate use of chelating agents in the diagnosis and treatment of putative mercury poisoning. Neurotoxicol. 2005; 26(4):691-699.
Grätz T. Moralities, risk and rules in West African artisanal gold mining communities: A case study of Northern Benin. Res Policy. 2009;34(1-2):12-17.
Jaques E, Zida B, Billa M, Greffié C, Thomassin JF. Artisanal and small-scale gold mines in Burkina Faso: Today and Tomorrow. In: Small-Scale Mining, Rural Subsistence and Poverty and West-Africa, Hilson GM ed, Practical Action Publishing: Rugby, UK. 2008;354.
Donkor AK, Bonzongo JC, Nartey VK, Adotey DK. Mercury in Different Environmental Compartments of the Pra River Basin, Ghana. Sci Total Environ. 2006;368(1):164-176.
Obiri S, Dodoo DK, Essumang DK, Armah FA. Cancer and Non-cancer Risk Assessment from Exposure to Arsenic, Cadmium and Copper by Resident Adults and Children in the Obuasi Municipality, Ghana. Int J Human Ecol Risk Asses. 2010;16(3):651-665. Available:https://doi.org/10.1080/10807031003788907
Böse-O’Reilly S, McCarty KM, Steckling N, Lettmeier B. Mercury Exposure and Children’s Health. World’s Worst Pollution Problems Report 2010: Top Six Toxic Threats. Blacksmith Institute/Green Cross, Switzerland. Blacksmith Institute: New York, USA; 2010;201b:33-38, 188-189.
Böse-O’Reilly S, Lettmeier B, Matteucci Gothe R, Beinhoff C, Siebert U, Drasch G. Mercury as a serious health hazard for children in gold mining areas. Environ Res. 2008;107(1):89-97.
Gibb H, O’Leary KG. Mercury exposure and health impacts among individuals in the artisanal and small-scale gold mining community: a comprehensive review. Environ Health Perspect. 2014;122(7): 667-672.
Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development. Energy and Mineral Development Joint Sector 2012: Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development. Kampala: MEMD. 2012;48–49.
Daily Monitor. Thursday, February 28th, 2019. Miners warned on use of mercury. Available:https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Miners-warned-on-usemercury/688334-5002504-view-asAMP-7gdbdgz/index.htm
Lacerda LD. Global mercury emissions from gold and silver mining. Water Air Soil Pollut. 1997;97:209-221.
Oyarzun R, Lillo J, Higueras P, Oyarzùn J, Maturana H. Strong Arsenic enrichment in sediments from the Elqui watershed, Northern Chile: Industrial (gold mining at El Indio – Tambo district) vs. geologic processes. J Geochem Expl. 2004; 84(2): 53-64.
Omara T, Nassazi W, Adokorach M, Kagoya S. Physicochemical and microbiological quality of springs in Kyambogo University propinquity. OALibJ. 2019;6:e5189.
Haruna R, Ejobi F, Kabagambe EK. The quality of water from protected springs in Katwe and Kisenyi parishes, Kampala city, Uganda. Afr Health Sci. 2005; 5:14-20.
Lukubye B, Andama M. Bacterial analysis of selected drinking water sources in Mbarara municipality, Uganda. J Water Res Protect. 2017;9: 999-1013.
Munabi C, Kansiime F, Amel A. Variation of water quality in Kakira catchment area, Jinja- Uganda. Phys Chem Earth Parts A/B/C. 2009;34:761-766.
Kasozi KI, Namubiru S, Kamugisha R, Eze ED, Tayebwa DS, Ssempijja F, et al. Safety of drinking water from primary water sources and implications for the general public in Uganda. J Environ Public Health. 2019;12
Article ID 7813962.
Semuyaba AS, Segawa I, Wamala A. Potential risk of lead toxicity from bottled water in Uganda. Mak Pharm J. 2014; 12(1): e13-20.
National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). National State of Environment Report for Uganda: Harnessing our Environment for Wealth Creation, Uganda. 2012;107–108.
New Vision. Museveni stops gold mining in Buhweju; 2013.
NAPE. Small-scale gold miners, government decry poor disposal of mercury in mining.
Omara T, Ogwang R, Ndyamuhaki S, Kagoya S, Kigenyi E, Musau B, et al. Spectroscopic analysis of selected priority trace metals in the extant East African gilled lungfish (Protopterus amphibius) in Lira municipal lagoon and its edibility health risk. Sci J Anal Chem. 2018; 6(5): 38-45.
Omara T, Kigenyi E, Laker F, Adokorach M, Otim G, Kalukusu R, et al. Effects of continuous deep-fat frying on the physicochemical properties of assorted brands of edible cooking oils sold in Greater Metropolitan Kampala. Asian J Appl Chem Res. 2019;3(2):1-13. Available:https://doi.org/10.9734/ajacr/2019/v3i230086
Tucker BW. Overview of current seafood nutritional issues: Formation of potentially toxic products, in: Shahidi F, Jones Y, Kitts DD (Eds.), Seafood safety, processing and biotechnology. Technomic Publishing Co. Inc., Lancaster, PA (USA); 1997.
Omara T. Antibacterial activity of papain hydrolysates of isoelectrically-isolated casein and thermoprecipitated alpha-lactalbumin from bovine and caprine milk on diarrheagenic bacteria. J Adv Med Life Sci. 2019;7(3):1-6.
Ogwok P, Muyonga JH, Sserunjogi ML. Pesticide residues and heavy metals in Lake Victoria Nile perch, Lates niloticus, belly flap oil. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 2009; 82(5):529-533.
Birungi Z, Masola B, Zaranyika MF, Naigaga I, Marshall B. Active biomonitoring of trace heavy metals using fish (Oreochromis niloticus) as bioindicator species. The case of Nakivubo wetland along Lake Victoria. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth Parts A/B/C. 2007;32(15–18):1350–58. Available:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pce.2007.07.034
Houdet J, Muloopa H, Ochieng C, Kutegeka S, Nakangu B. Cost Benefit Analysis of the Mining Sector in Karamoja, Uganda. Kampala, Uganda: IUCN Uganda Country Office. 2014;9 :82.
Djibril KNG, Tah Bong C, Pierre W, Magha A, Chianebeng JK, et al. Artisanal gold mining in Batouri area, East Cameroon: Impacts on the mining population and their Environment. J Geol Mining Res. 2017;9(1): 1-8.
Omara T, Othieno N, Obonge J, Ssebulime S, Kansiime M. Characterization and prognostication of wastes generated by industries in Kampala Industrial and Business Park-Namanve. OALib J. 2019; 6:e5189. Available:https://doi.org/10.4236/oalib.1105189