Published: Wednesday 30 June 1999

The rapid increase in small-mining in poor nations, often employing women and children, is taking a heavy toll by way of fatalities and diseases, said the International Labour Organisation (ILO). On an average, there has been a 20 per cent rise in the past five years in 35 countries studied by the ILO in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Small-scale mines employ an estimated 13 million workers worldwide and produce up to 20 per cent of precious metals, gems, building materials and non-fuel minerals globally. Four out of five such mines fall outside any legal or regulatory framework and the work place fatality rate is up to 90 times higher than in industrialised countries, said ILO.

In a controversial election, the secretary general of the United Nations weather agency, Godwin Olu Obasi, won his fifth-term. The agency tracks changes in the ozone layer. Although the election was low-key, the contest was accompanied by accusations of mismanagement and favours for votes against Obasi. The secretary-general, a Nigerian, has been accused of giving lucrative consulting contracts to directors of developing countries' weather services to buy their loyalty and votes.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.