**** LATEST NEWS! ****

22 September 2017

View this email in your browser

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.



 

Crematoria PDF Print
Friday, 23 September 2011 15:35

Crematoria

Cremation is increasingly gaining popularity even in societies where religious influence on cremation is not high, due to space limitations for cemeteries. Most of the mercury released during cremation is due to the vaporisation of dental amalgam fillings that contain mercury.

The typical cremation process includes the charging of the coffin and corpse, incineration in the main combustion chamber and, where applicable, final treatment in the afterburning chamber. Most cremation furnaces are fired using oil or natural gas, although some operate on electricity.

Most crematoria around the world still have no controls on emissions, although legislation is increasing because for instance in theNetherlands, the average number of fillings is expected to increase from 3.2 to 5.1 during the period 1995-2020 (OSPAR, 2002). This means that the emissions from cremations in theNetherlandswill double between 2002 and 2020, unless abatement measures are introduced.

In theUK it has been calculated that by 2020 crematoria will be by far the largest single contributor to mercury emissions (just over 25% of theUKmercury emissions to air) unless action is taken (AEA, 2004).

 Relevant legislation and NGO policy work

In the EU

No specific legislation applies at EU level. Individual Member States have adopted national legislation as relevant. More information can be found in the EC Impact assessment report prepared for the EU Mercury Strategy in 2005.

Relevant information can also be found in EEB,EEN, HCWH, Ban Hg WG/MPP publication: "ZERO MERCURY - Key issues and policy recommendations for the EU Strategy on Mercury" [December 2005]

In the UK, industry itself created the Crematoria Abatement Mercury Emissions Organisation (CAMEO) scheme, a crematoria abatement system scheme. This is a burden-sharing scheme where all members pay per cremation, then receive payment per abatement. This scheme also enabled a phased approach which was not in government recommendations with targets: by 2008, 10% of cremations abated, by 2010, 20% and by 2012, 50%.

EEB-HEAL-ZMWG organised a Conference on "Dental Sector as a source of mercury contamination"  May 25, 2007,Brussels, Belgium, which included a presentation fromUK authorities on the voluntary agreement on crematoria which is implemented in the UK.

The Report from the conference 'Dental Sector as a Source of Mercury Contamination', Brussels, 25 May 2007, [October 2007] is also available.

 Globally

 Many NGOs are working on the issue from around the world. Mercury Watchdog in the US is one of them: "We understand that cremation is growing choice for responsible citizens across the United States. As with anything that begins to grow in popularity, so does its impact on the surrounding environment. It has recently been reported by the Environmental Protection Agency that mercury pollution from crematoria reached 6613 lbs in 2005. This site began in response to a request from a local funeral home. They requested a zoning change allowing the addition of cremation equipment. Concerned neighbors began to ask questions that no one could answer. Questions like: Is this safe for my children? How close is too close? Why don’t funeral homes remove dental amalgam and dispose of it separately? Once it enters our environment in the form of vapor, mercury is virtually impossible to recover. We do know that modern filtration equipment can drastically reduce what reaches our environment.  We feel that funeral home operators should do everything within their ability to prevent the introduction of mercury into the environment at the source. At this time, the removal of dental amalgam and stack filtration are viable solutions. "

For more information, see:  http://www.mercurywatchdog.com