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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 NGOs from around the world call for actions in confronting global mercury crisis
NGOs from around the world call for actions in confronting global mercury crisis PDF Print
Friday, 04 August 2006 01:00
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Concurrent Conference Will Identify Solutions to Mercury Problems

Madison, WI, USA -- An NGO led forum, “Finding Solutions to the Global Mercury Crisis” will be held, August 7th – 10th . Advocates from international environment and health policy organizations will focus on available, effective, common sense solutions that will reduce mercury releases and environmental and public health benefits. This conference will be held simultaneously with a global mercury science meeting, markedly more research oriented.

Early drafts of a “synthesis manuscript” which the science meeting conferees will release on the final day of the meeting suggest that the conference outcome may emphasize uncertainties about mercury rather than recommendations for action or specific solutions to known mercury problems.

“The fact that mercury presents adverse local and global effects warranting immediate action has already been acknowledged by the United Nations and a host of countries,” said Michael Bender, Director of the Mercury Policy Project. “By hosting our meeting alongside the science conference, we hope that participants will come away with more concrete solutions to reduce mercury pollution and its impacts.”

At their meeting, the NGOs will demonstrate that the mercury crisis is a solvable problem and that use and pollution reduction alternatives are cost effective and available. Co­sponsors of the NGO meeting will relay new evidence on the prevalence of mercury in fish, an American and global diet staple, and the risks of exposure from consumption of those fish.

“To see the presence of mercury in our lives, just go to a grocery store, pick up a swordfish or tuna fillet, and instead of cooking it, send it to a lab for analysis,” said Eric Uram of the Mercury Free Wisconsin coalition. “Our groups did that here in Wisconsin and as we expected, the swordfish is loaded with mercury, at levels above the Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) action level. Tuna comes in a little lower, but it’s still high enough to warrant limiting consumption, particularly by young women and children.”

“These data show how much we need signs at seafood counters to convey the FDA advice and to make sure parents and parents-to-be get the information they need to make informed


and healthy choices for their families,” said Jackie Savitz of Oceana. “But none of the grocery stores in Wisconsin where we got the fish have such signs. Posting the government’s advisory on mercury in seafood is another simple, common sense solution to this widespread problem.”

High mercury levels in seafood provide clear evidence of the need to take stronger action to address the mercury problem.

“Wisconsin has fallen behind in regulating mercury emissions from power plants,” said Keith Reopelle, Program Director for Clean Wisconsin. “We need to reduce mercury emissions by at least 90 percent as our neighbors in Illinois and Minnesota have.” The Wisconsin DNR will make a decision on mercury regulations this fall.

“To reduce human mercury exposure, mercury-free solutions also should be promoted in chlor alkali facilities, and further investigated in dentistry and in artisanal and small scale gold mining,” said Elena Lymberidi, “Zero Mercury Campaign” Project Coordinator, of the European Environmental Bureau.

Results of the Wisconsin fish testing are available at http://www.mercurypolicy.org. Fish was purchased at Sam’s Club, Pick and Save, Jewel, Cub Foods and Copps.

Sponsors of the advocacy conference on mercury include:

Mercury Policy Project, http://www.mercurypolicy.org Natural Resources Defense Council, http://www.nrdc.org

European Environmental Bureau’s Zero Mercury Campaign, http://www.zeromercury.org/ Oceana, http://www.oceana.org/

Health Care Without Harm, http://www.mercuryfreehealthcare.org/

National Wildlife Federation, http://www.nwf.org/mercury/ Toxics Link of India, http://www.toxicslink.org/

International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology, http://www.iaomt.org/

Clean Wisconsin, http://www.cleanwisconsin.org Mercury Free Wisconsin, http://www.mercuryfreewi.org Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, http://www.wiwf.org/

Physicians for Social Responsibility Wisconsin, http://www.psrmadison.org/

Madison Environmental Justice Organization, http://www.mejo.us

Sierra Club, http://www.sierraclub.org/mercury/

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, http://www.iatp.org/

Ban Mercury Working Group, http://www.ban.org/Ban-Hg-Wg/

Consumers for Dental Choice, http://www.toxicteeth.org/ Green Action of Japan, http://www.greenaction-japan.org/

For more information on each of the conferences, see: http://www.mercurypolicy.org/new/documents/AgendaWINGOHgMtg061506.pdf http://www.mercury2006.org