- She said a survey carried by her Ministry revealed that as result of small gold mining in Chitral, there were many disabled children.
KARACHI: Minister of State for Climate Change Ms. Zartaj Gul on Thursday said the legislation for compliance to Minamata Convention on Mercury has been finalized as Pakistan is a signatory to this important convention which has been ratified recently.
She was speaking here at a seminar organised by Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Climate Change to raise awareness about the health hazards by mercury being used in cosmetics, soaps and other beautifying procedures like filling of teeth.
Mercury badly affects skin, kidneys and lungs. It was largely participated by businesspersons, academia and media people.
The Minister said under the legal framework which would become effective from January 1, 2021, the government would strictly ensure that the cosmetics and soap manufacturing companies have limited mercury usage to allowed limit of not more than 1 part per million (ppm).
However, she assured, there would no crackdowns on the manufacturers.
The government was ready to give them required phase out time.
Zartaj Gul informed that the results of recent testing showed that 56 out of 59 locally manufactured and imported creams, contained excessive amount of mercury which was really worrisome as it causes serious skin problems for the women these whitening creams and men also as many companies have nowadays introduced comparatively harder whitening creams for men as well.
The ministry intends to take strict legal action against such companies hence such companies must refrain from using excessive amount of mercury in their products and keep it limited to 1 ppm only.
She criticized manufacturers for risking female's health for profit, alongside displaying discriminatory behavior towards dark-skinned women.
The companies should not make profits at the cost of other's health.
She assured that the government was committed to encourage and promote industries making mercury free products in the country.
“Our aim is to control the excessive use of mercury in health sector and various other industries especially makers of whitening creams," she said adding that there were many soaps which were also dangerous to skin and caused serious problems.
"We met CEOs of many manufacturers of skin whitening products and asked them to remove mercury from the products”, she added.
The Minister said that the Ministry of Climate Change opted to hold this seminar at KCCI send the message that the government wanted to take the business community along in this campaign of "Mercury Free Pakistan."
She acknowledged the good gesture by the Cosmetics Manufacturers Association who had assured to comply with government policy and Minamata Convention in the great national interest.
She said a survey carried by her Ministry revealed that as result of small gold mining in Chitral, there were many disabled children.
However, under Minamata Convention, the government was going to get funds for the scale-up and upgradation of the mining process so that health safety of the people could be ensured.
Zartaj Gul also underlined the need for equipping with modern technology and trainings all the government Environment Protection Agencies in the country.
She was satisfied with the response got at the seminar and told that such seminar was already held by her Ministry in Lahore in partnership of the business community and other stakeholders and was very productive.
More such programms would be organised in other cities of the country.
President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, M. Shariq Vohra, Senior Vice President M. Saqib Goodluck, Vice President Shamsul Islam Khan, Joint Secretary from Ministry of Climate Change Syed Mujtaba Hussain, Deputy Director Chemical Minamata Convention Dr Zaigham also attended the seminar.
President KCCI appreciated the Ministry of Climate Changes 's efforts to raise awareness amongst the masses about the harmful impact of mercury.
This move was desperately needed as majority of the people were totally unaware of the health hazards and were widely using many beauty products containing excessive mercury.
He also assured full support and cooperation to the Ministry in all its initiatives towards building a better and healthy society.