ICMGP 2021

ICMGP 2021 - Scientific Committee

Dr Lynwill Martin

(Co-Chair)

Dr Lynwill Martin has a MSc in Environmental-Analytical Chemistry from Stellenbosch University and a PhD in Electrochemistry from the University of the Western Cape (UWC) where he graduated in 2013. He has worked on various projects focussing on pollutants in the environment as a post-graduate student. He has been responsible for the Mercury Monitoring Program at Cape Point since joining the Cape Point Global Atmospheric Watch (GAW) Station (operated by the South African Weather Service) in 2013 as a Senior Scientist. The Cape Point GAW station has the longest running ambient Hg data set in the southern hemisphere and was part of the European Union's FP7 project Global Mercury Observation System (GMOS).The Cape Point GAW site was classified as a secondary GMOS site responsible for monitoring Hg in air and in rainwater. Lynwill is the author and co-author of more than 10 papers in peer-reviewed journals focusing on mercury, and was involved in the 9th ICMGP in China (poster) as well as the 12th ICMGP in Korea (oral & poster). Furthermore, he is part of the Department of Environmental Affairs Specialist Mercury Panel that provides government with technical inputs into the process of South Africa ratifying the Minamata Convention. He is also the National Director of a Non-profit organization (NPO) since 2010 doing community work in the Western Cape and he regularly organizes workshops and fundraising events in this capacity. He also joined the UNEP Mercury Air Transport and Fate Research Partners in 2016.


Dr Joy Leaner

(Co-Chair)

Dr. Joy Leaner is currently Director of Air Quality Management in the Western Cape Government, South Africa. She completed her PhD in Environmental Geochemistry in 2001 at the University of Maryland, College Park USA. Her research focused on methylmercury and total mercury in water, sediment and aquatic organisms. Her research has ranged from understanding the sources, fate, transport and bioaccumulation of Hg in the environment, to that of developing strategies on Hg storage and handling in government institutions, as well as Hg emissions inventories, particularly for the Western Cape and South Africa. In 2006, she initiated the South African Mercury Assessment Programme, through which she coordinated and managed partnerships for Hg research in South Africa, as part of the multi-stakeholder initiative that involved Government, scientists (international and national) and industry. Through this Programme, Hg research in South Africa grew exponentially over the years, with research collaborations initiated with international organisations and academia in Europe and the USA. She has represented the research contribution made by South Africans in Hg research on the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership on Mercury Fate and Transport, and was part of the UNEP Research Advisory Group on Mercury who advised UNEP on mercury fate and transport in the environment. Further, she was an advisory member of the GESAMP/UNIDO Working Group 37 on the Expanded Review of Mercury and its Compounds and Threats to the Marine Environment. Aside from publishing in the field of Hg from both her doctoral research and further research work in South Africa, she has contributed to the UNEP report on global Hg emissions to the atmosphere in 2009. She has presented her work at various national and international conferences in the field. Currently, her interests have expanded to include policy development, air quality governance, monitoring, modelling and the impacts of air quality on human health and the environment.


Prof Vernon Somerset

(Scientific Chair)

Prof. Vernon Somerset completed his doctoral degree in Electrochemical and Analytical Chemistry in 2007 from the University of the Western Cape (UWC, Bellville, South Africa). With more than 15 years of experience in Environmental Chemistry research, he has worked on various projects focusing on the sources, transport pathways and fate of inorganic and organic pollutants in the environment. In his research activities, he has focused on various aspects of improving the analytical techniques for the quantification of the different pollutants in environmental samples. This has been done by employing Electrochemical, Analytical, Separation and Spectroscopic methodologies for the detection and quantification of certain pollutants in environmental matrices. He is also the author and co-author of several publications on Hg in the Southern African Environment. Prof. Vernon Somerset is part of a very active regional research network, collaborating with regional Academic and Research Institutions, including Industries and Government. Currently he is assisting the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, as part of an advisory committee providing input into South Africa ratifying the Minamata Convention. Furthermore, he is also a core member of the SETAC Global Mercury Working Group (GMWG), studying and disseminating information on Hg issues. Prof. V. Somerset has made more than 50 conference presentations (both oral and poster) since 2003, of his research output and that of his students and colleagues at various conferences, both national and international. This included opportunities as an invited speaker to the ANALITIKA 2010 Conference (Stellenbosch, South Africa) and the SETAC Mercury Science and Policy Symposium 2013 (Prefectural University of Kumamoto, Kumamoto, Japan). Furthermore, Vernon Somerset has also gained experience as a part of conference organizing team for the 3rd International Conference on Electrochemistry (MAPET15), which was held at UWC, May 2015. The next opportunity was offered as a member of the Scientific Committee of the 7th SETAC Africa Conference and Horizon Scanning Project Workshop (Langebaan, South Africa, October 2015).


Dr Chavon Walters

(Secretariat)

Dr. Chavon Walters is a Senior Researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), a leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organization located in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Dr. Walters joined the CSIR in 2007 where she completed her MSc in Environmental Sciences from the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in 2010, and her PhD in Medical Biosciences in 2016. Dr Walters MSc thesis entailed a national South African survey of mercury concentrations and speciation in freshwater compartments (i.e. surface water, surface sediment and freshwater fish species). Her study was largely concentrated in areas impacted by anthropogenic sources including in the vicinity of coal-fired power stations and artisanal gold mining regions in South Africa. Since then, Dr. Walters has worked extensively on environmental and toxicity issues related to mercury sources and pollution particularly in the aquatic (freshwater and marine) environment and rainwater in south and southern Africa. Chavon Walters has research interests focusing on: fate and transport of mercury in the environment; understanding the complex cycling of trace metals, particularly mercury, in the environment; bioaccumulation and adverse effects of mercury in the environment; environmental toxicology, freshwater security, freshwater and aquatic biota quality and the analysis of aquatic matrices (water, sediment, biota).


Ms Maria Cuoto

Maria Couto is a Senior Environmental Advisor at Eskom's Research Testing and Development (RT&D). Eskom is South Africa's power utility supplying 95% of South Africa's electricity, the majority of which is produced by 14 coal fired power stations. Ms Couto joined Eskom in 1992 in the Microbiology unit where she was responsible for the running of the laboratory and various industrial and biotechnology research projects. In 2005 she joined the environmental research unit at RT&D where she was exposed to various environmental and related fields and in 2010 initiated a project to establish a mercury baseline in the Waterberg region of the Limpopo province. This region is where an additional 4000 MW coal fired power station is currently being constructed. The study was designed to provide an overall description of the levels of mercury in areas potentially impacted by emissions of coal-fired power stations.


Prof Ralf Ebinghaus

Ralf Ebinghaus is an analytical and environmental chemist and head of the Department for Environmental Chemistry of the Institute of Coastal Research at Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, in Germany. His research fields include transport, deposition and air/sea-gas exchange of atmospheric trace constituents, such as mercury and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) with special emphasis on substances of emerging concern for the coastal, marine and polar environment. Ralf has published more than 180 articles in peer reviewed journals and several book chapters. He has also been involved in previous ICMGP meetings (serving on LOC & SSC) and has been collaborating with the Cape Point GAW Station on their mercury program since 2007.


Prof Robert Mason

Robert (Rob) Mason is currently Professor of Marine Sciences, with a joint appointment in Chemistry at the University of Connecticut. The focus of his current and recent research is the important transformation processes in the sediment, water and air, and at the interfaces (sediment/water and air/sea) for mercury, methylmercury and metals and how these impact bioavailability and bioaccumulation into aquatic organisms. Rob was instrumental in setting up the first clean laboratory for Hg analysis in South Africa at CSIR-Stellenbosch and played a major role in establishing the South African Mercury Assessment the first coordinated body for mercury research in SA in 2006.


Mr Rico Euripides

Rico Euripidou works for groundWork a local NGO based in Durban where he is the Environmental Health Campaign Manager. groundWork is a non-profit environmental justice service and developmental organization working primarily in Southern Africa in the areas of Climate & Energy Justice, Coal, Environmental Health, Global Green and Healthy Hospitals, and Waste. He has a Master's degree in Environmental Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a Master's degree in Contaminated Land Managed from Nottingham University in England. Rico's interests lie in working on issues of energy policy, climate change and public health, all of which are of course interrelated and is also part of the National Mercury Stakeholders Committee




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