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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
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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 Press Releases One step closer to toxic free batteries
One step closer to toxic free batteries PDF Print
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 18:06
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One step closer to toxic free batteries

 

[Brussels, 20 March 2013] The European Parliament Environment Committee's vote for a phase out of mercury in button cells batteries by 2014 and cadmium in batteries for cordless power tools (CPTs) by 2015 was today welcomed by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and the Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG). Banning mercury in button cell batteries in the EU is an important step towards implementing the provisions of the newly adopted Minamata Convention on Mercury.

 

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, EEB Zero Mercury Project Manager said that “Banning these products in the EU would help foster a rapid switch to the manufacture of mercury free products from large global exporters such as China, and reduce the use of mercury in this industry sector.”

 

With this vote, the EP Environment Committee followed the advice of two Commission funded studies [1] which found strong environmental and economic grounds for banning mercury from button cell batteries and cadmium from CPT batteries with alternatives being widely available within the EU [2].

 

Although introducing a date for the withdrawal of obsolete products is a positive addition to the directive, the EEB and ZMWG would have preferred a shorter period than the three years post phase out dates that MEPs supported, during which the non-compliant batteries can remain on the market.  “Three years is too long to leave non-compliant products on the shelves after the phase out dates”, says Stephane Arditi, EEB’s Senior Policy Officer on Products & Waste. "One year would be plenty of time to sell off any remaining products and would also prevent overproduction of obsolete ‘toxic batteries’ prior to the phase out.” 

 

Negotiators from the Council and Parliament will now attempt to reach a first reading agreement on this subject. The EEB will call on them to ensure a final deal will phase out these two toxic substances from batteries by 2014 for mercury and 2015 for cadmium respectively with as short a delay as possible for the withdrawal of obsolete stocks.

 

ENDS

 

[1] An EC commissioned report (BIOIS 2012) proposed to ban the marketing of mercury –containing button cell batteries in the EU, to reduce the environmental impact from mercury use in these products and their contribution to the overall mercury problem http://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/mercury/pdf/Final_report_11.07.12.pdf

 

[2] The Commission’s own Impact Assessment from 2010 showed that appropriate substitutes for cadmium batteries for CPTs are commercially available and already widely used on the EU market http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=SWD:2012:0065:FIN:EN:PDF

 

[3] EEB/ZMWG letter to the ENVI committee: Environment NGOs call for a ban on Cadmium in batteries for cordless power tools (CPTs) and on Mercury in button cells batteries (111

 

18 February, 2013

 

BIO IS final Report: Study on the potential for reducing mercury pollution from dental amalgam and batteries, July 2012

 

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For content related issues, please contact:

 

Elena Lymberidi – 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 , T: +32 2 2891301; Rachel Kamande – 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 , T: +32 2 2891308 and

 

Stephane Arditi - 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 , T:+32 2 2891097