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As new global mercury treaty enters into force, worldwide mercury production skyrockets, 
notes Global NGO Coalition on World Environmental Health Day

Geneva, 26 September 2017- As 156 countries convened for the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention, 
a new UN report shows mercury mining skyrocketing in the last 5 years. Moreover, much of that mercury is used in artisanal and 
small scale gold mining (ASGM), the largest source of global mercury pollution.

Currently, countries do not have reliable information about trade in neighboring countries and within their own region. 
This problem is compounded where borders between countries are “porous,” and a significant portion of trade is informal or illegal. 
For example, mercury may enter a region through legal trade to one country, but then be traded illegally across borders to neighboring countries. 

“Informal trade is difficult to track, and therefore does not appear in the official trade statistics,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, 
Project Manager, Zero Mercury Campaign at the European Environmental Bureau. 
“With timely reporting, Parties can better understand mercury flows in order to better enforce trade restrictions in the Convention.”

“In recent years there have been a number of shocks to the global market, resulting in a doubling of the price of mercury in the last 12 months alone,” 
said Michael Bender, Co-coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group. “In addition, EU and US export bans now in place have resulted 
in a major shift in the main trading hub to Asia.”

“The emergence over the past five years of new small-scale producers of mercury in Mexico and Indonesia has made a difficult situation worse,” 
said Satish Sinha, Associate Director at Toxics Link in India. “Between these two countries alone, around 1000 tonnes are produced annually.”

“The main objective of the Minamata Convention is to protect human health and the environment by, in part, simultaneously 
reducing mercury supply and demand,” said  Rico Euripidou, Environmental Health Campaign Manager at groundWork 
in South Africa. Without adequate reporting on the global movement of mercury it will 
be difficult to monitor the overall effectiveness of the Convention, say NGOs.

“Annual reporting is consistent with the requirements of other environmental conventions such as Basel and the Montreal Protocol,” 
said Leslie Adogame, Executive Director at Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development in Nigeria.
“Legal trade flows must be understood before informal or illegal trade can be adequately addressed.”

An analysis of publicly available UN COMTRADE data over the period 2013-2016 (see below) reveals that the majority of global mercury flows 
from commodity trading centres (such as Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE) to developing country regions (such as Africa and Latin America) 
where mercury use in ASGM is prolific in response to the largest global gold rush the world has ever seen. 

see table at the pdf

see also PR in FR 

Notes to the editor

http://www.mercuryconvention.org/

 https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/21725/global_mercury.pdf?sequence=1&;;isAllowed=y

http://www.ifeh.org/wehd/

www.zeromercury.org

For further information, please contact:                                         

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Coordinator ‘Zero Mercury Campaign’, European Environmental Bureau, ZMWG International Coordinator
T: +32 2 2891301,   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " data-mce-href="mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ">  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " data-mce-href="mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Michael Bender, ZMWG International Coordinator, T: +1 802 917 8222,    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " data-mce-href="mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ">  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " data-mce-href="mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

David Lennett, Natural Resources Defense Council, T:  +1 202 460 8517    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " data-mce-href="mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " data-mce-href="mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

*The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) is an international coalition of over 95 public interest environmental and health non-governmental organizations from more than 50 countries from around the world formed in 2005 by the European Environmental Bureau and the Mercury Policy Project.  ZMWG strives for zero supply, demand, and emissions of mercury from all anthropogenic sources, with the goal of reducing mercury in the global environment to a minimum.  Our mission is to advocate and support the adoption and implementation of a legally binding instrument which contains mandatory obligations to eliminate where feasible, and otherwise minimize, the global supply and trade of mercury, the global demand for mercury, anthropogenic releases of mercury to the environment, and human and wildlife exposure to mercury.

Home Press Releases A healthy advance: European Parliament edges closer to eliminating mercury in the health sector
A healthy advance: European Parliament edges closer to eliminating mercury in the health sector PDF Print
Thursday, 14 September 2006 01:00
een_logohealth_care_without_harm_logoeeb_logozeromercury_logo

[Brussels, 14 September 2006] Health and environment NGOsi welcome the European Parliament’s Environment Committee’s vote yesterday supporting a ban on measuring devices containing mercury, including those used in hospitals and doctors’ surgeries. “The Committee have very sensibly held fast to their position on the EU’s Strategy on Mercury regarding healthcare devices”, said Elena Lymberidi, of the European Environmental Bureau. “As long as the full Parliament votes for this position at the next stage of the legislative procedure, the public and our environment will be better protected from the scourge of mercury.”

The NGOs congratulate the Committee for its report which proposes a ban on mercury-containing instruments such as fever thermometers and blood pressure devices both for the public and professional healthcare facilities. “This is potentially great news for the general public, patients, medical staff and the environment”, said Karolina Ruzickova, from Health Care Without Harm Europe “If this ban becomes law, mercury exposure risks in healthcare can be dramatically reduced.”

Ample high quality alternatives for both fever thermometers and blood pressure instruments can already be bought in Europe. “Although some exceptions for professional blood pressure instruments may still be allowed, this ban can bring us a long way in eliminating unnecessary and highly risky use of mercury”, said Lisette van Vliet, Toxics Policy Advisor for the European Public Health Alliance Environment Network. “Mercury contamination from blood pressure instruments in and from hospitals is still a big problem. We hope that mercury-free alternatives are carefully considered when exemptions are permitted”.

However, the NGOs criticise the Committee’s position on small barometers, which overturns the Commission’s earlier proposal to ban all barometers for public sale regardless of size. The manufacture of small barometers may now continue, even though these instruments pose a great risk of contamination and severe harm to health if they break, particularly in people’s homes. The cost of cleaning up mercury contamination can also be high.

Anti-mercury NGOs now call on the all Members of the European Parliament at the Plenary vote in late October and on the EU Member States at the Council meeting in December to follow the line set by the Environment Committee on medical devices, non-fever thermometers and manometers, but to follow the Commission’s proposal on small barometers.

For more information:-

Elena Lymberidi, European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Tel +32 2 289 1301, Karolina Ruzickova, Health Care Without Harm Europe, Tel: +420 222 782 808

Lisette van Vliet, EPHA Environment Network (EEN), Tel: +32 2 234 3645 www.zeromercury.org; www.env-health.org; www.noharm.org

See also letter sent to the Members of the Environment Committee:

http://www.zeromercury.org/EU_developments/060912NGOs_key_demands_MeasControl_Equip_dir ENVI.pdf


i Environmental and Health NGOS include:

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) www.eeb.org, is a federation of over 145 environmental citizens’ organisations based in all EU member states and most accession countries, as well as in a few neighbouring countries. These organisations range from local and national, to European and international. The aim of the EEB is to protect and improve the environment of Europe and to enable the citizens of Europe to play their part in achieving that goal.

The Zero Mercury Working group, www.zeromercury.org, is an international coalition of more than 40 public interest non­governmental organizations from around the world formed in 2006 by the European Environmental Bureau and the Mercury Policy Project/Ban Mercury Working Group. The aim of the group is to reach ‘Zero’ emissions, demand and supply of mercury, from all sources we can control, towards eliminating mercury in the environment at EU level and globally.”

European Public Health Alliance Environment Network (EEN) http://www.env-health.org/ is an international non-governmental organisation advocating environmental protection as a means to improving health and well-being. Member groups and organisations represent health, environment, women, health professionals and others. The group has a diverse membership of 41 member groups (6 international organisations, 11 European networks and 24 national/local organisations) including non-governmental organisations, professional bodies representative of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, academic institutions and other not-for-profit organisations.

Health Care Without Harm Europe (HCWH) www.noharm.org is an international coalition of hospitals and healthcare systems, medical and nursing professionals, community groups, health-affected constituencies, labour unions, environmental and religious organisations. HCWH is dedicated to transforming the healthcare industry worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it is ecologically sustainable and no longer a source of harm to public health and the environment.

Also supported by NGOs from the USA (Natural Resources Defence Council), India (Toxics Link), China (Global Village of Beijing), Brazil (Association for Combats against the POPS).