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New treaty’s entry into force set to curtail global mercury crisis, say NGOs

BRUSSELS - 16 AUGUST 2017
TODAY’S ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE MINAMATA CONVENTION ESTABLISHES THE FIRST NEW MULTILATERAL ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENT IN OVER A DECADE.  THE ZERO MERCURY WORKING GROUP* HAS BEEN CALLING FOR A LEGALLY BINDING TREATY FOR OVER A DECADE AND WELCOMES THE NEW PROTOCOL.

“While there are alternatives to mercury, there are no alternatives to global cooperation,” said Michael Bender, coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group. “Mercury respects no boundaries and exposes people everywhere”
“Only a global pact can curtail this dangerous neurotoxin.”

In October 2013 the convention text was adopted and signed by 128 countries, but would not take legal effect until at least 50 countries had ratified it formally.  This milestone was reached in May of this year, and the convention enters into force today 16 August. 

“We are now on the right track,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Manager, European Environmental Bureau and ZMWG co- coordinator. 

“Over time, the Convention is expected to provide the necessary technical and financial resources to reduce the risk of exposure to mercury worldwide. Governments must therefore move swiftly towards efficient implementation of the Treaty’s provisions”.

The aim of the Convention is "to protect the human health and the environment” from mercury releases.

The treaty holds critical obligations for Parties to ban new primary mercury mines while phasing out existing ones and also includes a ban on many common products and processes using mercury, measures to control releases, and a requirement for national plans to reduce mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining.  In addition, it seeks to reduce trade, promote sound storage of mercury and its disposal, address contaminated sites and reduce exposure from 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.

The Minamata Convention joins 3 other UN conventions seeking to reduce impacts from chemicals and waste – the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

ENDS 

For more information, see:

http://www.mercuryconvention.org/Negotiations/COP1/tabid/5544/language/en-US/Default.aspx

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 " 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 "> 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

Notes to the editors:

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 and small children. 

*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.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is Europe's largest network of environmental citizens’ organisations, standing for environmental justice, sustainable development and participatory democracy. Our experts work on climate change, biodiversity, circular economy, air, water, soil, chemical pollution, as well as policies on industry, energy, agriculture, product design and waste prevention. We are also active on overarching issues as sustainable development, good governance, participatory democracy and the rule of law in Europe and beyond.

We have over 140 members in over 30 countries.

EC register for interest representatives: Identification number 06798511314-27
International non-profit association - Association internationale sans but lucratif (AISBL)

 
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China PDF Print
Friday, 03 September 2010 14:28

Coordinating NGO for EEB/ZMWG funded projects:        Global Village of Beijing

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

Assessment Meeting of Mercury-containing Medical Devices Substitution Pilot Project in Qinhuangdao Was Held on March 23rd (Qinhuangdao is a major port city in northern China with a population of 2870 thousand (2009))

March 26, 2012

On March 23, 2012, an assessment meeting for Qinhuangdao Maternity and Child Health Hospital’s mercury-containing medical devices substitution pilot project was held in Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province. Liang Fang, Director of the hospital’s nursing department, presented the implementation process and achievements of the substitution project. Representatives from Chinese Ministry of Health, Chinese CDC, Qinhuangdao Bureau of Health, Beijing Normal University, local hospitals and media participated the meeting.  The participants inspected the hospital’s use of mercury-free thermometer and sphygmomanometers, mercury-containing devices storage site and other assessment items.

The pilot project was jointly conducted by China National Democratic Construction Association Qinhuangdao Municipal Committee, Sino-Union Create (a Chinese NGO based in Qinhuangdao), Qinhuangdao Maternity and Child Health Hospital and Global Village of Beijing. The project began in August 2011. Initially, an implementation task force was formed with the hospital’s director as leader and participated by representatives from each department in the hospital. And then, mercury inventory survey, staff training, comparative trial and substitution were conducted in sequence.

As of February of this year, the hospital has put 400 mercury-free thermometers and 17 mercury-free sphygmomanometers in use.  The amount of mercury-containing thermometers in use was reduced from 910 to 140 and the amount of mercury-containing sphygmomanometer was reduced from 38 to 10. In 2012, the hospital will no longer purchase new mercury-containing sphygmomanometers or thermometers. This is expected to reduce the demand of mercury more than 5,000 grams per years. Due to the lack of available alternatives and relevant standards, some departments of the hospital haven’t replaced their mercury devices, such as thermometers in neonatology department and sphygmomanometers used in ambulance.  The project team intends to follow up on the above issue.  

Qinhuangdao Maternity and Child Health Hospital is one of the few hospitals in China that have conducted mercury-containing medical devices substitution. An important consequence of the project is that it demonstrates the possibility of eliminating mercury-containing medical products to other hospitals

Qinhuangdao-4Qinhuangdao-1


2011 Project title:                       Raising Awareness on Mercury Pollution in Hospitals- Phase VII

Project objectives:       Promote hospitals’ awareness of mercury-free health care and provide experience and guidance for reducing mercury in medical devices in the future -  Proposal phase VII

 Activities:

ð     Promote hospitals’ awareness about the possibility of mercury-free health care

ð     Provide experience and guidance to doctors to sensitize them to the alternative of mercury-free medical devices, by demonstrating successful cases of substitution of mercury thermometers and blood pressure devices in China

ð     Review domestic regulation to reduce mercury in medical devices

ð     promote mercury-free practices via skill-sharing between mercury-free hospitals in Beijing and provincial hospitals

Status: completed

Outcome

One of the main outcomes was a workshop between Beijing and Qinhuangdao city (population 2.8 million) healthcare sectors on reducing mercury pollution from medical devices was held on April 12, 2011. The workshop was jointly held by Global Village of Beijing and Sino-Union Create, a NGO in Hebei Province.

Another outcome of this project is the report on Analysis of Mercury-Containing Medical Devices Substitution In Healthcare Sectors

 

Previous projects

2010 - GVB Proposal Phase VI

Final report Phase VI


2009 - GVB Phase V proposal

Final report Phase V

2008 - GVB Phase IV proposal

Final report from Phase IV

2007-GVB Phase III proposal

Final  report  from Phase III


2006 - GVB Phase II proposal

Report from the Guizhou Mercury Investigation submitted to Government (CHI)
English Executive Summary of the report from Guizhou
Final report from Phase II


2005 - GVB Phase I proposal

Project website
Factbook on mercury in EN and CHI
Guidebook in the form of wallet.
Poster
Exhibition boards 1 , 2
Boards exhibited outsideuniversities 1,2 , 3
Conference launching the project - picture
NGO Workshop

New Exhibition boards: http://www.mercury.ngo.cn/xiazai/Exhibition%20Boards.rar
Poster : http://www.mercury.ngo.cn/xiazai/Poster.jpg
Mercury book: http://www.mercury.ngo.cn/xiazai/Mercury%20Fact%20Book.pdf
booklet: http://www.mercury.ngo.cn/xiazai/Brochure.pdf
Mercury CD: http://www.mercury.ngo.cn/xiazai/Mercury%20(CH).wmv
Photo of mercury workshop(1.26): http://www.mercury.ngo.cn/xiazai/1-26/1-26.rar
Investigation report in Guizhou:
http://www.mercury.ngo.cn/xiazai/China%20Situation/GVB_Guizhou%20Mercury%20Investigation.pdf

photos of activities in some universities:
http://www.mercury.ngo.cn/huoban/huoban.html

Study under Phase III: Market Research Report on Chinese Mercury-free Thermometers and Sphygmomanometers

Agenda from the 2007 China NGOs Skillshare on Chemical Safety