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

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

 

For any press queries please contact Alison Abrahams, EEB Communications Officer at 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 on +32 (0) 2289 13 09 or +32 (0) 489 304 962

 

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