(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – The Labor Inspectorate’s Medical Bureau will cooperate with gold purchasing companies to reduce the levels of mercury vapour in Paramaribo. “We will set up a system so less mercury vapour escapes,” says John Courtar, head of the Medical Bureau, which has purchased a mercury vapour meter that can store data into a computer.
A survey the Labor Inspectorate conducted a few years ago determined that the level of mercury vapour in Paramaribo is well above those considered safe by the World Health Organization (WHO). The level of vapour is 60,000 nanograms, while the WHO’s standard is 20,000. “This is a cause for concern, but we will turn things around together with the companies,” Courtar claims. One measure taken in this regard is to stop the issuing of licenses for gold purchasing companies.
The survey also uncovered then that 79 companies and their branches are active in the capital. Three-quarters of those are in the city center, while the rest is mainly concentrated in two areas, namely North Paramaribo around Tourtonnelaan and Anamoestraat and in South-West Paramaribo in the areas of Saramaccastraat and Van ‘t Hogerhuysstraat. Ten of these companies turned out not to be licensed. District Commissioner Mohamed Kasto of North-East Paramaribo pointed out earlier that gold purchasing companies do not belong in residential areas. The mercury vapours are hazardous to public health, so Kasto has called for the construction of industrial parks in remote areas for these companies.