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22 September 2017

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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:




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.


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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


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


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


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.
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:

photos of activities in some universities:

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

Agenda from the 2007 China NGOs Skillshare on Chemical Safety