**** LATEST NEWS! ****

 

Press Release

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 Groups Blast Space Start-up for Pedaling Mercury Satellites Thrusters; Urge potential customers to t...
Groups Blast Space Start-up for Pedaling Mercury Satellites Thrusters; Urge potential customers to take the pledge not to use dangerous neurotoxin PDF Print
Thursday, 20 December 2018 16:59

 

zeromercury WG_logo

20/12/2018

Groups Blast Space Start-up for Pedaling Mercury Satellites Thrusters;

Urge potential customers to take the pledge not to use dangerous neurotoxin

The Zero Mercury Working Group and NGOs from around the globe are blasting Apollo Fusion, Inc. for pedaling mercury thruster technology to propel satellites because, if widely applied, the resulting pollution will have direct implications on the global environment.    They are also urging potential customers—Space X, OneWeb and Planet Labs—to publicly pledge not to use this dangerous neurotoxin in their satellites, even though it’s the cheapest propellant on the market.

“While marketing ‘cost savings’ from mercury to propel satellites, Apollo fails to recognize the costs, risks and impacts of a new mercury source on human health and the environment,” said Michael Bender, International Co-coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group in Montpelier, VT, USA. “This flies in the face of not only U.S., but global efforts, to reduce mercury pollution.

The group’s letter explains that the U.S. and other governments around the world have already expended millions of dollars to regulate and reduce mercury emissions from major sources.  That’s because mercury is a very dangerous neurotoxin that circulates globally in the atmosphere and ultimately makes its way up the aquatic food chain bioaccumulating in humans.  US FDA, all 50 state health departments and health ministries worldwide warn pregnant women to avoid or limit consumption of many types fish primarily because of mercury contamination.

“Most of the mercury emitted from satellite propulsion systems will eventually find its way back to the earth’s surface according to numerous studies of the long-range transport of mercury,” said Jane Williams, Executive Director of California Communities Against Toxics. “If mercury is widely used to propel satellites, the resulting releases would significantly increase the global pool of mercury in the atmosphere and hydrosphere.”

Going against the grain and the general understanding for decades that mercury was considered ‘a dead fuel’—for many good reasons— Apollo Fusion, a Silicon Valley startup company, appears intent on exploiting the lack of regulatory restrictions on mercury in space.  For example, in the 1970s, NASA recognized the risks related to mercury fuels in satellites and chose other options - even though NASA recognized mercury was cheaper to use. 

“The Minamata Convention on Mercury seeks to reduce, and where feasible, eliminate all uses of mercury where technically-achievable mercury-free alternatives are available,”  said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, ZMWG International Co-coordinator at the  European Environmental Bureau in Brussels.   “In the case of satellite propulsion systems, mercury-free alternatives have been available and almost universally used for decades.”

Accordingly, as part of the upcoming COP3 review of the Minamata Convention on Mercury next November, the groups intend to raise the use of mercury as a propellant for inclusion in the list of prohibited mercury-added products under the Convention’s Article 4.

Finally, Bender notes that the export of pre-fueled thrusters to international launch facilities  may violate the Mercury Export Ban Act of 2008, which prohibits, under the Toxic Substances Control Act (15 U.S.C. § 2611(c)(1)), “the export of elemental mercury from the United States.”

The second UN Conference of the Parties met in Geneva last month to further the Minamata Convention’s objective “to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.” Thus far, over 100 countries (with the U.S. being the first) have ratified the Convention, which entered into force in August 2017.  Yet much more mercury reduction work is needed, because according to an upcoming UN report, global mercury emissions rose by 20% between 2010 and 2015.

###

Contact: 

Michael Bender, Telephone: 802-917-8222; email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For more information:

http://www.zeromercury.org/index.php?option=com_phocadownload&;view=file&id=261:ngo-open-letter-to-apollo-mercury-use-as-satelite-propulsion-fuel&Itemid=15

https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/countries-meet-address-mercury-global-emissions-rise-20

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-19/this-space-startup-could-lace-the-atmosphere-with-toxic-mercury?utm_medium=email&;utm_source=newsletter&utm_term=181121&utm_campaign=climatechanged

http://web.unep.org/globalmercurypartnership/global-mercury-assessment

https://www.peer.org/news/press-releases/mercury-may-reach-orbit-through-regulatory-blindspot.html

http://www.zeromercury.org/