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UNEP Hazards of Mercury

UNEP Hazards of Mercury

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Published by Guy Razer
UN PROCLAIMS MERCURY IS HAZARDOUS!! WHY DO THEY CONTRACT THE MANUFACTURE OF VACCINES CONTAINING MERCURY?? DOESNT MAKE SENSE TO ME!! A HAZARDOUS MATERIAL COULD CAUSE ALLERGIC REACTIONS!!
UN PROCLAIMS MERCURY IS HAZARDOUS!! WHY DO THEY CONTRACT THE MANUFACTURE OF VACCINES CONTAINING MERCURY?? DOESNT MAKE SENSE TO ME!! A HAZARDOUS MATERIAL COULD CAUSE ALLERGIC REACTIONS!!

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Published by: Guy Razer on Nov 30, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/15/2013

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User’s guide
a) General Awareness Raising Strategiesb) Key Mercury Messages for citizens/NGOs,local governments, as well as small and mediumsize companies.
 
GENERAL AWARENESS RAISING STRATEGIES
What does it mean to raise awareness about mercury?
 The goal of awareness raising is to disseminate factual information to the peoplewho are either affected by mercury or who are in some way responsible for caringfor people who may be affected by mercury to inform them about the hazardsassociated with mercury.Good awareness raising campaigns are optimistic and empowering. They relayresponsibility and ownership of an issue to the target audience.
How does one launch an awareness raising campaign?
Before a full mercury awareness raising campaign starts, it is essential to assessthe extent of the problem. For instance, it is important to understand the largestsource of mercury, the number of people affected, the area or extent of theexposure, the mercury levels in local wildlife and humans, and actions to implementwith the greatest potential for environmental benefit. The overall objective is to promote the understanding of the related issue andassociated risks. It is helpful to establish some goals for the effort so that progresscan be measured over time.It is likewise important to be aware of target audiences. You will want to considerwho is using mercury, and which organizations can influence change. Targetaudiences often include healthcare providers, governments and parents ascaregivers, as well as populations that use products containing mercury or that aredirectly exposed to the risk through their environment or activities. Schools areanother major means to relay information. Awareness raising campaigns can alsoreach out to industry to urge them to take action on the issue. The use of existing social networks may be one of the least expensive and mosteffective ways to get across information about mercury. Speakers can visit schools,and materials can be developed for students that they can then take home to theirparents. Awareness raising requires commitment of community leaders. Healthcareproviders and religious leaders are very important sources of information for acommunity, since their advice is generally respected. They are important allies inawareness raising. There are many community-based organizations whose charterincludes the dissemination of public health information and/or communityeconomic development. Community-based organizations often communicateregularly with other groups with similar goals.2
User’s guide
 
Who is the audience?
Once the objectives for awareness raising are established, target audiences willneed to be identified along with specific sub-groups within that audience.It may prove necessary to plan a variety of activities in order to reach out to theaudience. Usually the message must be adjusted to fit the audience and prioritiesmay have to be established. Some aspects to consider could include:
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Who needs the information the most?
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 Are there existing networks in place to deliver the message?
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Who is positioned to make decisions?
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Who can influence the decision-makers?
What is the message to be delivered?
 The character of the overall message to be delivered is very important. To beeffective a message should be relevant to the audience and convince them thatthey need to take action on the issue. The message will vary according to thetarget audience.For example, when addressing an artisanal mining community, the take-homemessage might be:
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Using mercury in gold mining practices involves risk to human health and thesurrounding environment. You, your family and your community may be at riskof mercury poisoning.
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Mercury exposure for miners and their communities can be reduced by followingsafer practices that effectively extract the gold. Safer practices can be simple touse and cost-efficient.
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Even the storage, transport and handling of mercury for these purposes create adanger of spills and both of immediate and longer-term exposure to mercuryvapour.
How does one deliver the awareness raising message?
One must consider what are the most effective means to reach out to the targetaudience. Messages ought to be delivered in local languages. The message can bedelivered in a number of ways, for example:
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Public meetings and workshops are useful to deliver messages to small groupsand can be effective in covering topics in-depth.
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Printed material such as leaflets, posters and/or stickers draw attention to theissue and can be made appropriate for most audiences.
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Large-scale publicity such as signs, radio or television advertisements or publicservice announcements can also be effective in drawing attention to an issue.Celebrities are often willing to play a role in selling the message.3

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