Training on Environmental Risks and Health Consequences of Mining in Armenia

On April 13, 2015, the American University of Armenia Center for Responsible Mining (AUA CRM) in partnership with Caucuses Environmental NGO Network (CENN) and Aarhus Center in Alaverdi conducted a training on environmental risks and health consequences of mining in Armenia.

The training was held in the City of Alaverdi, Lori region and was attended by 45 individuals from different communities in Lori region including Alaverdi, Akhtala, Teghut, Tchotchkan, and Mets Ayrum. There were representatives from local governmental bodies, city councils, health-care organizations, NGOs, media and youth groups.

The aim of the training was to raise awareness among local community members about reducing exposure to heavy metals such as arsenic and lead that are accumulated in the environment through mining and smelting related activities.

Ruzanna Grigoryan, MD, MPH, who worked at the American University of Armenia School of Public Health (AUA SPH) for many years and coordinated projects of the AUA SPH in mining and smelting communities in Armenia, conducted the training. She presented the AUA SPH research on heavy metals in Alaverdi and informed the participants on prevention using the materials developed by the AUA SPH for the pilot project conducted in Akhtala with support from Blacksmith Institute for a Pure Earth.

During the training, Dr. Grigoryan focused on the safety measures and techniques that individuals can utilize in their everyday life to reduce the harmful health impacts of mining pollution. The audience shared their concern regarding the current state of pollution in Alaverdi. They also expressed an interest in learning more about research findings related to other communities in the Lori region. Dr. Grigoryan informed the participants of publicly available data sources, which include some of the affected communities of the Lori region. Many attendees expressed interest in similar trainings in the future.

The training was implemented within CENN’s regional project Promoting Environmental and Social Accountability in the Mining Sector in the Caucasus. The goal of the project is to reduce poverty, enhance environmental and social security and foster sustainable rural development. The project is being implemented with the financial support of the German fund Bread for the World.