Rev Dr Esmond Wisdom Quansah, Country Director, Pure Earth Ghana
Rev Dr Esmond Wisdom Quansah, Country Director, Pure Earth Ghana

International Earth Day: Pure Earth Ghana calls for collaborative action to combat mercury, lead pollution 

Pure Earth Ghana, a non-profit organisation, has called on government agencies, international bodies, and other stakeholders to strengthen policies, invest in clean technology, enforce regulations that limit mercury and lead emissions.


It also called for collective effort to support research and grassroots initiatives aimed at tracking and mitigating the negative impact of mercury and lead pollution on the environment.

In a press release issued to Graphic Online by its Country Director, Rev. Dr Esmond Wisdom Quansah, to commemorate the International Earth Day today, April 22, 2024, it stressed that "the Earth is all we have, and we must do everything to protect it; Together, we can forge a path to a cleaner, safer planet. 

This Earth Day, let us renew our pledge to protect human health and the environment from the perilous effects of mercury and lead.”

The release urged all entities, including the government, local communities and global organisations, to unite in this essential cause stressing that “your support and collaboration can significantly amplify our impact.”

“Let us honour Earth Day by committing to a pollution-free planet and safeguarding our future generations” it stated. 

Grim realities

The organisation further revealed that mercury and lead pollution present grim realities in various Ghanaian communities, contributing to severe environmental degradation and health crises. 

It indicated that the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global treaty ratified by over 128 countries including Ghana, has identified mercury as a "chemical of global concern due to its long-range atmospheric transport, persistence in the environment, and significant negative effect on human health and the environment" (UN Environment Programme). 

Similarly, the release explained that lead, often found in paints, batteries, and industrial emissions, continues to pose significant risks, particularly affecting children's brain development according to a (World Health Organisation(WHO) report. 


It indicated that further studies reveal that mercury and lead pollution continue to wreak havoc on ecosystems and human health, with irreversible consequences worsening if not promptly tackled.

The release cited a WHO data that reveals the severe impact of mercury exposure which includes neurological and behavioural disorders, while lead contamination also leads to devastating health problems, especially in children, such as cognitive impairment and cardiovascular issues.

It further observed that a recent study by Pure Earth and Ghana Health Service shows that 53.5 per cent of children under five years in three ecological zones of Ghana had blood lead levels at five micrograms per decilitre (µg/dL) or above, which is the level at which the WHO recommends public health action to reduce or eliminate exposure.  

The Home-Based Assessment study by Pure Earth also shows that 93 per cent of the traditional eyeliner (Chilo) samples that were tested, all exceeded the Ghana Standards Authority(GSA) threshold of lead in cosmetics, and some were composed entirely of lead, posing a significant source of lead exposure to children.

The metal cookware, particularly affordable, fabricated aluminium cookware locally known as “Dadesen”, has been found to contain lead which can leach into the food being cooked. 


The release said in response to these challenges, the organisation has been actively involved in several ground-breaking initiatives.

They include conducting workshops and outreach programmes in affected communities to raise awareness about the risks of mercury and lead exposure and preventive practices. 

On site remediation, the organisation is partnering with local and international experts to deploy proven technologies in the safest removal of environmental contaminants while working alongside policy makers to strengthen environmental laws and regulations to ensure rigorous enforcement and compliance. 

It has also been working with local industries to adopt cleaner technologies and reduce emissions. 
Since its establishment in 1999, Pure Earth has consistently championed innovative solutions to combat pollution and its devastating effects on human health and the environment. 

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