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The Health and Ecological Implications of Mercury use in Artisanal Gold Extraction Process

TitleThe Health and Ecological Implications of Mercury use in Artisanal Gold Extraction Process
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsNabaasa, H, Ngaka, W, Picho, EO
JournalInternational Journal of Technology and Management
Volume3
Issue1
Date PublishedJune 2018
Abstract

This paper presents findings of the study to examine the implications of Mercury use in artisanal gold mining on the ecological systems and the miners’ health. Mercury is extensively used in gold extraction by artisans with implications on their health and the environment. Although Artisanal Gold Mining is an important economic activity that underpins the livelihoods of many people in Uganda and elsewhere in worldwide, the public health and ecological issues particularly, the mercury use in the gold extraction process are of great concern. Unfortunately, the major focus in Sub-Saharan Africa has traditionally been on large-scale mining with less interest on health, safety and environment issues in artisanal gold mining (Collier, 2010). An exploratory cross sectional study design was used to examine the implications of Mercury use in artisanal gold mining on the ecological systems and the miners’ health in the districts of Mubende and Buhweju. 384 respondents were selected from artisans, minining rights holders and local leaders. Data was collected using observation checklists, survey questionnaire, interview guide and documents review guide. The findings indicated a strong correlation between the variables of interest determined using odds ration and 95% confidence intervals. It was established that, the mining communities live in deplorable sanitary conditions, use toxic chemicals such as mercury in the gold extraction process putting their health at a great risk and have severely degraded fragile ecosystems that should support their livelihoods. In order to assess the relationship between the use mercury in gold extraction and ecological/health implications, all the factors that were significant at bi-variate level were subjected to a multivariate analysis using logistic regression model. The significant factors such as the implication of mercury use on land and water, miners’ livelihood security and food production were fitted in the model and subjected to further analysis. A Back Ward Stepwise Logistic Regression was used to control for all probable confounding variables in the test. The controls were done through model modification. The best logistic regression model fitted finally predicted the probability or chance that mercury use in gold extraction significantly affects the miner’s health and ecological value

URLhttps://ijotm.utamu.ac.ug/index.php/ijotm/article/view/67/91