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is one of the key elements to any comprehensive global approach to address mercury.

If the mine closes, the need for reemployment and rehabilitation of exploited and contaminated areas will remain. The mercury mine is the main source of income for the town – about 10,000 people – and also creates indirect employment that may not continue without the income provided by the mine. Water pumped from the mines to keep shafts accessible is used for irrigation of the few areas suitable for agriculture. While most of southern Kyrgyzstan relies on agriculture as its main source of income, soil fertility and climatic conditions in Khaidarkan valley are unfavourable.

Behind all these needs is the reduction of the resources available to the Government of Kyrgyzstan for preventing pollution, since independence from the former Soviet Union.

UNITAR and UNEP, in partnership with Zoï Environment Network, with funding support from Switzerland, the United States of America and Norway, have assisted Kyrgyzstan with capacity building for Action Plan development. With inputs from and the participation of a wide variety of stakeholders, an Action Plan on Primary Mercury Mining and its Impact on the Environment has been produced and is being considered at the highest levels of government. The following key areas have been identifid for action at Khaidarkan in the Action Plan:

 - Development of socially responsible plans for mine closure, with environmentally acceptable and economically affordable rehabilitation techniques defied to deal with contaminated waste and land;

 - Promotion of other viable economic activities and ways of sustaining livelihoods that do not involve primary mercury mining must be developed;

 - Improved public awareness, strengthened controls, improved information and reporting are also needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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