The mercury content in Paramaribo and the interior is disturbingly high. Recently a presentation was held for gold buyers about mercury pollution and how to cope with it. Mercury pollution does not only takes place in the gold fields, but also in the air, causing air pollution.
When the gold buying companies use mercury, vapor is being release in the air which causes air pollution. The processing of gold releases mercury and can eventually make people sick in the long run. According to Minister Silvano Tjong-Ahin of Spatial Planning and the Environment (ROM) there has been talk for years about how to reduce mercury use. Illegal imports of mercury must also be countered.
Gold buyers and the rest of the community need to be made aware of the different negative health problems that can arise from inhaling and eating mercury. In most cases it happens unconsciously and that makes it even more dangerous.
The elimination of mercury during gold processing in the small gold sector is still a very big problem. According to the minister, no licenses have been granted for the import of mercury in the past ten years.
There are other countries apart from Suriname who are fighting to eradicate the use of mercury. According to Minister Tjong-Ahin, the community should be informed about the other ways to extract gold.
The research regarding air pollution by mercury was done by the Anton de Kom University of Suriname (AdeKUS) in collaboration with the National Institute for Environment and Development in Suriname (NIMOS). Amendments must now be made to the framework law.