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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.



 

Home PROJECTS
Lebanon PDF Print
Sunday, 02 October 2011 18:56

Coordinating NGO for EEB/ZMWG funded project:                   The League of Indipendent Activists (IndyAct)

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

Local dental workers at risk from mercury use, Emma Gatten, The Daily Star, 30 March 2012

dentalPicIdnyact


BEIRUT: Dental workers in Lebanon are exposed to potentially dangerous levels of mercury due to their continued use of the substance in dental work, despite widespread global acceptance of the risks, according to a report released Thursday by NGO IndyAct.

“The results showed that the health care sector, and the dental sector in particular, have high levels of mercury, and the workers in this sector are exposed to medium to high risk levels,” said Naji Kodeih, a toxic chemist with IndyAct who led the research.

The study, conducted in October last year, assessed levels of mercury in different sectors across Lebanon and Morocco, including cement and chemical industry zones, dumps and the health care sector.

Kodeih estimated that around 30 percent of dental surgeries still use amalgam fillings which contain mercury, putting their mercury concentration levels up to 25 as high as those that do not.

A highly toxic substance, mercury can be fatal if inhaled directly, and is harmful when absorbed. As well as in dental fillings, it is also used in medical equipment including thermometers and as a component of paint and batteries.

Long-term exposure to the chemical can cause symptoms including paralysis, insomnia and damage to vision and hearing but its real danger lies in the potential, and irreversible, harm to fetal and child development, particularly neurologically.

Kodeih said the government could do much more to try and control the problem, and bring Lebanon in line with other countries’ regulations.

“We call on the government to give high attention to this problem, and to set up the necessary legislation and national strategy and policy, and to take a more active role in international negotiations,” he said.

Mona Haddad, representing the Syndicate of Hospitals, said the cost of replacement and a lack of awareness of the dangers of mercury poisoning both played a large part in its continued use in hospital equipment, one of the major sources of demand for mercury-containing products.

“In major hospitals they do know about it, but if you go to the rural areas that’s where you see a lack,” she said.

Haddad said Lebanon lacks basic regulation over mercury disposal, which means it is often dumped and ultimately enters the water system.

Haddad said Lebanon could look to other countries for responsible disposal methods, particularly Sweden which is on track for a centralized collection point for mercury waste by 2015.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 30, 2012, on page 4. Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2012/Mar-30/168472-local-dental-workers-at-risk-from-mercury-use.ashx#ixzz1qbmb78cG 
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)




2011 Project title:               Measuring Mercury Pollution in the air in Lebanon and Morocco

 Project objectives:     Use the Lumex machine to analyze mercury content in different usages

Activities:

ð     Analyze mercury emissions in open dumpsites and hospital waste incinerators, work coordinated with the Zero Waste coalition in Lebanon and in Morocco

ð     Increase local awareness of mercury hazards

Status:  completed, summary of the project activitiesFinal report

2010 Project

IndyAct, with technical and financial support by the EEB/ZMWG, will be organising a workshop for representatives of Arab states and representatives of Arab NGOs, in preparation for the second session of negotiations on mercury. It is believed that this, will greatly help to bring views together, increase the understanding of Arab delegates on the issue, and shape positions that would help achieve an effective, comprehensive and binding Convention on mercury.

The workshop aims to achieve the following objectives:

  •  Strengthening the awareness of participants about the dangers of mercury, and policy options to avoid these dangers based on science.
  • Provide the participants (especially negotiators) with information on the most important issues being negotiated.
  • Work to bring the views together to achieve a unified Arab position on key issues being negotiated.
  • Activate the role of the Arab groups (especially NGOs) in the negotiations to achieve a comprehensive, strong, and binding agreement on mercury.
  • To develop an official Lebanese and Arab position, clear and consistent with the overall objectives of the potential agreement to come.

Deliverables

The workshop took place on the 4-5 November 2010 , in Beirut, Lebanon.
Over 11 Arab country representatives participated actively to the meeting, UNEP, the Mercury INC Chair, ZMWG, and many NGOs from the Arab region.

The outcome of the meeting was a Position Paper issued by the Arab Consultative Workshop . The paper is also available in Arabic.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 September 2012 10:40