The use of mercury, heavy metal with disastrous consequences on human health and the environment, is reportedly in high concentration in Mashonaland West due to widespread artisanal mining activities.

A recent stakeholder workshop held in Kadoma on mercury initial assessment revealed chilling information on high levels of mercury use, despite the substance being highly toxic and lethal to human beings and the environment.

The workshop was among other things also meant to disseminate information on the Minamata Convention which is meant to see signatories to the treaty either banning the use of mercury or taking steps to minimise its uncontrolled use.

The toxic metal is mainly used in mines to trap gold, despite the lethal effects it poses to users.

It is reported that in Kadoma and Chakari, some women were affected by the metal and can no longer breast feed while consumption of fish from Claw Dam is regarded a high health risk.

The Minister of State for Mashonaland West Cde Faber Chidarikire called for the early implementation of the Minamata Convention by providing scientific and technical knowledge on mercury use and alternative technologies.

Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate has started disseminating information to mercury users on the deadly effects of the metal.

Some of the effects of mercury include brain and nerve damage. It also affects foetal neurological development.