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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
T: +32 2 2891301,   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

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 NGOs Call for CFL Phase Out, Urge retailers to follow IKEA’s lead by ending sales
NGOs Call for CFL Phase Out, Urge retailers to follow IKEA’s lead by ending sales PDF Print
Wednesday, 04 November 2015 00:00

         

NGOs Call for CFL Phase Out, Urge retailers to follow IKEA’s lead by ending sales

Environmental NGOs are urging the European Commission (EC) to restrict sales of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), showing how they can be feasibly replaced with lighting emitting diode (LED) lamps. [1] They are also calling on retailers to follow IKEA’s lead by no longer selling CFLs. [2]

“LEDs have surpassed CFLs with respect to energy efficiency, lamp life and performance,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Zero Mercury Project Manager for the European Environmental Bureau. “The time is ripe for an EC decision to take CFLs (<30W) off the shelves throughout the EU by 2018,” Lymberidi-Settimo added.

The EC accepted comments until mid-October on restricting electronic equipment that contains mercury (and other persistent toxic chemicals) from the market under the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS.) [3]

The NGO comments opposed the EU lighting industry’s request to the EC to continue approving mercury exemptions for most categories of fluorescent and high-intensity discharge lighting equipment, including CFLs. This could result in mercury-added lamps continuing to be sold for as long as the RoHS allows, NGOs say. [4]

Since the US Energy Department's lifecycle analysis shows the LEDs far surpass CFLs in efficiency and other environmental impacts, advocates are also calling for CFL sales to end by 2018 in the US. [5]

“LEDs are environmentally preferable to CFLs from a lifecycle perspective,” said Alicia Culver, executive director of the Responsible Purchasing Network.  “LEDs use less energy, last three times longer than CFLs.  They are a practical and affordable alternative for most general purpose lighting applications because their price has been dropping rapidly while their performance has been dramatically improving.”

Workers can be exposed to mercury when manufacturing, transporting, installing, recycling or disposing of CFLs and other fluorescent lamps.  Pregnant women and toddlers may be exposed above safe levels when CFLs are broken in rooms without ventilation. [6]

“LEDs don’t contain mercury and are becoming more cost competitive, especially when energy use reduction and higher fluorescent lamp disposal costs are factored in,” said Michael Bender, director of the Mercury Policy Project.  “Plus, compared with CFLs, there are 4 times as many LEDs available on the ENERGY STAR list.”

The EC is expected to make a decision in 2016.

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[1]www.eeb.org, www.mercurypolicy.org, www.responsiblepurchasing.org

[2]http://www.ikea.com/us/en/about_ikea/newsitem/081015_IKEA_100_percent_LED

[3] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/rohs_eee/legis_en.htm

[4]http://www.zeromercury.org/index.php?option=com_phocadownload&;view=file&id=198:environmental-ngos-response-to-stakeholder-consultation-2015-2-on-mercury-containing-lamps-exemption-1-4&Itemid=15   

[5]http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/publications/pdfs/ssl/2012_LED_Lifecycle_Report.pdf

[6]http://www.maine.gov/dep/homeowner/cflreport.html