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The impact of toxic substances of the mining industry in communities can be minimized: Alaverdi

On April 13, on the initiative of Alaverdi Aarhus Center, in cooperation with the American University of Armenia’s (AUA) Center for Responsible Mining and the Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN) a seminar was held under the theme “The mining industry risks upon the environment and human health”. The overall objective was to publicize the results of the research conducted in the region, with the aim of minimizing the impact of toxic substances of mining industry in the communities.
Ruzanna Grigoryan, who has worked for many years as a researcher at the American University of Armenia (AUA)’s School of Public Health (SPH), presented the

participants of the seminar the results of the soil sampling in Alaverdi and Akhtala communities comparing them with the results of samplings of Erebuni district of Yerevan.

Exactly in Erebuni the situation is not good, but a number of heavy metals in the upper soil layer in Alaverdi and Akhtala region several times exceed the amount of the allowable limit in the soil samples, the amount of lead, for example, exceeds the maximum allowable limit (400 mg / kg). Has been also examined the lead level in blood of 4-6 year old children, as its impact among children is reflected more quickly. As a result in Alaverdi and Akhtala communities the children’s health risks with elevated blood lead levels are significantly higher.

The workshop participants were highly varied: local government representatives of Alaverdi, Akhtala, Teghut, Tchotchkan, Merts Ayrum communities and residents, city council members, World Vision Armenia’s Alaverdi ADP, active youth groups, media (Hetq, local Ankyun plus 3 TV and Armenia TV ), members of NGOs, teachers, high school students, a total of 45 participants. Consequently, the speaker explained the all issues with regard to the both sampling methods, laboratory researches and the used tools. The data and used methods are makig assumption that the MPCs exceedances are not endemic, but also bearing external impact, although the condition is irreversible yet.

Ruzanna Grigoryan also presented the protective measures that can mitigate the health risks caused by heavy metals. For example, because they are spread through the dust, it is necessary to remove dust from apartments more often, if in the family there are members working at the factory and wearing uniforms, then should be careful and wash those more often and etc.

Before representing the results of this study the AUA Center for Responsible Mining has presented it to all ministries, government agencies and communities.

Alaverdi Aarhus Center, highlighting the publication of information has responded to the researchers’ readiness to organize a workshop.

Mari Chakryan
Armenian Aarhus Centers Press Officer
E-mail: aarhusnews@gmail.com
Translated by Anush Beybutyan