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by Peter Mutai

NAIROBI Dan Fouts Jersey , May 26 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's artisanal and small scale gold miners (ASGM) on Friday received 4.2 million U.S. dollars from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to minimize the use of mercury in their activities.

The project that is known as the GEF Gold Kenya project will also safeguard people's health and the environment and support sustainable livelihoods of ASGM.

""This program intends to introduce and promote best practices and techniques for gold extraction in collaboration with the governments,"" David Maina, acting head of programs at the UN Development Program (UNDP), said during the launch of the project.

Maina said exposure to mercury has many serious health effects and also affects aquatic Melvin Ingram Jersey , plant and other animals.

""It is unfortunate that despite the dangers associated with the chemical, human contact in mining of gold is still high,"" he said.

The program that will be coordinated by the UNDP and the Kenyan government is also being carried out in Burkina Faso, Colombia Joey Bosa Jersey , Guyana, Indonesia, Mongolia, Peru Los Angeles Chargers Hats , and the Philippines.

The project is aimed at aligning small scale gold miners with the 2013 Minamata Convention on Mercury's agreement that banned the use of mercury in mining for health and environment conservation reasons.

Artisanal and small scale mining accounts for 60 percent of the total gemstone production in the country. Though lucrative, both the miners' health and the environment have taken a hit due to frequent mercury exposure.

A majority of large-scale players have shifted from use of mercury and embraced alternative methods of extracting the gold after the mercury ban in 2013.

Maina however revealed that exposure to mercury is high in children and teenagers, as many drop out of school to engage in lucrative gold mining.

""Of great concern is the reality that women are primarily the ones handling mercury in the ASGM community, when they engage in the processing of gold without protective equipment Los Angeles Chargers T-Shirts ,"" he said.

The use of mercury is believed to be affecting the sensitive aquatic ecosystems in the Lake Victoria basin upon which approximately 5 million Kenyans rely for domestic and export fisheries activities.

The total mining population in Kenya may be close to 250,000, but this is on the increase as more people shift towards gold mining as a main livelihood source, due to a decline in agricultural productivity within the region.

According to Mismark Onyando Los Angeles Chargers Hoodie , chairman of Mining Community Development Program (MICODEPRO), the support will go a long way in helping improve the lives of miners in the country.

Onyando told Xinhua that for many years, miners have risked their lives in the mines as they apply various mercury-using gold extraction processes that release mercury into the air without using any protection, leading to the exposure.

He said that in the past miners have been diagnosed with respiratory problems Customized Chargers Jersey , renal failure and mental disorders that are symptoms of heavy metal poisoning.

""It is good news for miners in Kenya who have been operating without relevant equipments due to lack of funds,"" Aron Kecha, the Project Officer of Centre for Environmental Justice and Development said.

Kecha added that the assistance will also contribute to the miner's who are indirectly dependent on ASGM for their livelihoods, good health and also raise their daily income.

In Kenya mining activities occur mostly near Lake Victoria Cheap Los Angeles Chargers Jerseys , western Kenya, where there remains of significant underexplored or underexploited reserves of gold in high concentrations.

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