Harmful chemical found at abandoned Berbice sawmill

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Three bottles of mercury, a harmful substance, were found at an abandoned sawmill at Crabwood Creek, Corentyne, Region Six on Friday last, according to a release from the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU).

CANU said that officers were conducting an operation in the area. That operation led to the discovery of three bottles of mercury among the bushes of the sawmill’s compound.

The bottles of mercury were handed over to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), which is the agency responsible for the importation of the chemical.

In fact, its importation, retailing, and distribution require a license from the Pesticide Toxic Chemical Control Board (PTCCB), as well as the written consent of the Commissioner of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission.

Environmental authorisation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before any shipment of mercury is imported into Guyana for mining purposes is also needed.

CANU reminded that the Government of Guyana signed the Minamata Convention on

October 10, 2013, and subsequently ratified on September 24, 2014. This convention is an international treaty that is designed to protect human health and the environment from harmful emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.

As such, a phase-out approach that would lead to the eventual ban of mercury in Guyana is being pursued.

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