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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 PROJECTS International projects
Armenia PDF Print
Friday, 03 September 2010 14:27

Armenia

Coordinating NGO for EEB/ZMWG funded projects: Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment (AWHHE)

Contact details:         Elena Manvelyan- This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

2014 - Project title: Towards phasing out mercury in products in Armenia

  • Project goal: to promote quick ratification and assist treaty implementation.
  • Project duration: 9 months (January-July 2014)

Armenia signed the Minamata Convention on mercury in October 2013 and has already launched enabling activities towards its ratification.

Mercury is used in a wide variety of household devices and products. These items release mercury into the environment when broken or improperly disposed. If spilled, mercury absorbs into many materials while slowly evaporating into the air over time, allowing for exposure. Knowing what products and items contain mercury and handling them properly, will limit the risk of mercury exposure. Common products often have a simple and environmentally friendly alternative.

The project focused on the following most common mercury containing products available to the public in Armenia

  • Mercury containing medical devices
  • Mercury containing vaccine
  • Dental amalgam used in previous years
  • Mercury containing batteries
  • Mercury containing lamps
  • LED screens of mobile phones and computer/laptop screens
  • Mercury containing skin-lightening creams and children’s cosmetics
  • A matter of special concern is presence of mercury containing pesticides in storages of banned and obsolete pesticides.

AWHHE acknowledges financial support by Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) and the European Commission (EC) via the European Environmental Bureau/Zero Mercury Working Group in this project

Avoid Using Mercury Containing Devices (eng / arm)


Armenia,(in cooperation with  Belarus[1], Georgia[2])


2010 - 2011 Project title:               Mercury in skin lightening creams in EECCA

Project objectives:     Analyze mercury content in skin lightening creams in the three participating countries

Activities:

ð     Determine how much mercury is used in different skin care and cosmetic products through laboratory analysis of chosen samples in the three countries

ð     analysis of relevant EECCA and EU legislation on mercury use in such products

ð     analysis of the trade issues - where the products come from and quantities etc

Recommendation:    Include skin care and cosmetic products as mercury-containing products to be banned in the upcoming global treaty on mercury

Status:                         completed

Outcome:

out of the 100 tested samples, 82 of them contained mercury. The highest level  of mercury concentration among these (1,7 ppm) was found in the product ‘C.L. Set for fading the freckles’, which is imported from China and bought in Georgia. Only 18 of the total 100 tested samples did not contain mercury. Although these products did not have any mercury content, it is unknown whether they contain other harmful substances, e.g. whitening agents such as hydroquinone.

Final report



[1] Center of Environmental Solutions (CES) is a non-for-profit, non-governmental foundation (establisment) legally established in Belarus in the beginning of 2009. As an envrionmental group FRI, our team has been working since 2001.

CES mission is promoting of an environmentally friendly life-style, principles of sustainable development for preserving living conditions for future generations, and assisting in development of inter-cultural dialogue and partnership for environmental protection.

CES has experience of participating in national and international processes in the area of chemicals safety, SAICM implementation, and waste management.

[2] Georgian Environmental and Biological Monitoring Association (GEBMA) is   a   non-governmental, scientific, non-profit organization. The group of scientists-toxicologists working in environmental and health issues has established it in 1995 on the base of the Georgian Institute of Industrial Hygiene and Occupational Diseases.  In July 11-th, 2006, the Association re-registered in the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, Tbilisi. Registration #: 833.

GEBMA unites 9 founders-members. Depending on circumstances, volunteers are also attracted in organization.

Main purpose of the Association is to protect human health and environment against harmful environmental and occupational factors, especially, against chemicals, including pesticides, fertilizers, POPs, industrial chemicals, consumer chemicals, cosmetics and others.

                                Since 1997 GEBMA has been involved in the Pan-European processes on “Environment for Europe” and “Environment and Health”.

Internal organizations GEBMA is in a close contact are European Eco-Forum, Eco-Accord, IPEN and WECF.

GEBMA has been involving in preparation of the National Documents such as:

·          “ National Profile to Assess the National Infrastructure for Management of Chemicals in Georgia”; Supported by the Directorate General XI of the   European   Commission through UNITAR/IOMC, 1998;

·          Georgia NEHAP; Supported by WHO, 2000-2003;

UNEP/WHO milk survey (Georgia’s National Protocol for the monitoring of POPs in human milk), 2008.