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22 September 2017

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PRESS RELEASE: 

New treaty effectiveness will depend on adequacy of data to be collected, say NGOs  

Geneva, Switzerland


Prior to the start of the first Conference of Parties (COP1), the Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) welcomed the entry into force of the Minamata Convention. 

“While there are alternatives to mercury, there are no alternatives to global cooperation,” said Michael Bender, international ZMWG coordinator. “We applaud the world’s governments for committing to curtail this dangerous neurotoxin.”

The First Conference of the Parties will take place from 24 to 29 September 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland.  Over 1,000 delegates and around 50 ministers are expected to assemble in Geneva to celebrate and lay the groundwork for the treaty’s overall effectiveness.
 
During the prior negotiations, the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) approved many of the forms and guidance that the Convention specifies must be adopted at COP 1, which are needed for the swift and smooth launch and running of the Convention.  These include guidance documents on identifying stocks, determining best available technologies and reducing mercury use in small scale gold mining; as well as forms for trade procedures and for exemptions from certain deadlines.

“These INC approvals were achieved by consensus after considerable deliberations, and are ready for approval without further debate,” said Satish Sinha, Toxics Link India.

Among the most critical open issues to be discussed at COP1 are the reporting requirements, which will provide critical information on both the global mercury situation and the effectiveness of the Convention in achieving mercury reductions.   Particularly critical to collect will be data on mercury production and trade, which can change significantly in a short period of time.

 “Countries will not have readily available information about production and trade in bordering countries or within their region, unless there is frequent reporting under the Convention,” said David Lennett, Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council “Many borders between countries are “porous,” and where a significant portion of mercury trade is informal/illegal.   Good data on legal trade flows will enable actions to address illegal trade, all of which has a huge impact on artisanal and small scale gold mining, the largest source of mercury pollution globally.

Mercury is a global pollutant that travels long distances. Its most toxic form – methylmercury - accumulates in large predatory fish and is taken up in our bodies through eating fish, with the worst impacts on babies in utero

For more information, see:

http://www.mercuryconvention.org

www.zeromercury.org

Contacts:


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 "> 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 "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For information on reporting, please contact 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 "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For further information, please contact:

*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.



 

Pesticides PDF Print

One of the major uses of mercury compounds as biocides was as seed dressing. These uses have been discontinued or banned in many countries (UNEP, 2002). In the formerSoviet Unionthe production of organomercurial pesticides was initiated in 1955 with a production that reached 200 metric tons/year by 1960. The main compound used was ethyl mercury chloride, but 14 different compounds are known to have used as pesticides in the country. Production of organomercurial pesticides in theRussian Federationhas ceased, but it is estimated that in recent years 20-40 metric tons has annually been used from stocks (Lassen et al., 2004).

A station for collecting of mercurial waste in the town ofKarpogoryhas been established by the Norwegian Climate and Pollution Agency in cooperation with the regional authorities inArkhangelsk. As part of the project, the Russian partners have organized an information campaign for schools, colleges and kindergardens. Pollution from the dangerous metal has for many years been a serious problem in Arkhangelsk Oblast.

InAustralia, a liquid fungicide product containing methoxy-ethyl mercuric chloride is used to control pineapple disease in sugarcane sett (UNEP, 2002). InIndiathe use of organomercurial pesticides in 1999-2000 reported by the Directorate of Plant Protection was 85 metric tons, although production seems to have ceased (Wankhade, 2003). Formerly a number of mercury-based pesticides were used inIndia, but today most are banned.

Unused product, including stocks of obsolete pesticides, may be lost or disposed of with normal waste or through special disposal programs.

Relevant legislation and NGO policy work

 The sale and use of pesticides containing mercury for plant protection purposes, and as a seed dressing, have been severely restricted or prohibited/discontinued in a large number of countries throughout the world, although certain limited uses remain in some countries.

In the EU

 In the EU, the sale and use of pesticides based on mercury compounds for plant protection are prohibited by Directive 79/117/EEU and its amendments. This also applies to seed treatment. On the other hand, the export of such preparations to countries outside the European Community is not specifically prohibited by the Directive.

Globally

Lesotho reported that two mercury-based pesticides, used as a dip for potatoes and as a seed dressing for seed-borne diseases in grain crops, have been discontinued. InColombia, registration of fungicides based on mercury compounds for agricultural use has been cancelled; presently, no registration is active for any mercury-based pesticide (UNEP, 2002).

For the US information is provided at http://www.epa.gov/hg/regs.htm, at http://www.epa.gov/hg/consumer.htm#bat and at http://www.newmoa.org/prevention/mercury/modelleg.cfm