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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 Mercury in Fish is a Global Health Concern
Mercury in Fish is a Global Health Concern PDF Print
Tuesday, 10 February 2009 01:00
eeb_logo zeromercury_logo

Citizens’ groupsi say problem warrants immediate United Nations action

[10 February 2009, Brussels] As the world’s governments convene next week to discuss developing a legally binding treaty on mercury, citizens’ groups from around the world have released a new report calling attention to the significant global human health hazards caused by mercury in fish and fish-eating marine mammals. The international Zero Mercury Working Group (1) released the study, which maintains that the problem demands an effective response from governments and the United Nations.

“Mercury contamination of fish and mammals is a global public health concern,” said Michael Bender, report co-author and member of the Zero Mercury Working Group. “Our study of fish tested in different locations around the world shows that internationally accepted exposure levels for methylmercury are exceeded, often by wide margins, in each country and area covered.”

According to the report, “Mercury in Fish: An Urgent Global Health Concern”, the risk is greatest for populations whose per capita fish consumption is high, and in areas where pollution has elevated the average mercury content of fish. In cultures where fish-eating marine mammals are part of the traditional diet, mercury in these animals can add substantially to total dietary exposure. In addition, the study shows that methylmercury hazards still exist where these dietary and local pollutant levels are less prevalent.

“The proposals outlined in the report, including labelling certain fish products and stronger controls on mercury pollution, should be instituted without delay,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Zero Mercury Campaign Coordinator. “All governments should consider these results and agree launching an International Negotiating Committee (INC) to start work immediately on a global mercury treaty, in Nairobi next week.”

For more information please contact

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Coordinator Zero Mercury Campaign, European Environmental Bureau, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , T: +32 2 2891301

Lisette van Vliet, Health and Environment Alliance, Toxic Policy Adviser, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it '; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text26688 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , T: +32 2 234 3645;

Michael Bender, Director, Mercury Policy Project, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,T: +1 802 223 9000 Vanessa Bulkacz, EEB Press & Publications Officer: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Tel: +32 (0)2 289 1309

Notes and More Information:

The press release is available at: http://www.zeromercury.org/press/090210-MercuryFishRelease.pdf The full report is available at:

http://www.zeromercury.org/International developments/FULL FISH REPORT FI NAL+.pdf The executive summary is available,

In EN at: http://www.zeromercury.org/International developments/EXEC SU MM+.pdf

In FR at: http://www.zeromercury.org/International developments/EXECSU M M FRENA4.pdf In ES at: http://www.zeromercury.org/International developments/EXECSU M M SPANA4. pdf In PT at: http://www.zeromercury.org/Internationaldevelopments/EXECSUMMPORTA4.pdf In CHI at: http://www.zeromercury.org/Internationaldevelopments/EXECSUMMCHINA4.pdf


The report indicates that mercury is a persistent, bioaccumulative transboundary pollutant that contaminates our air, soil, water and fish. Because of this potential for global contamination, mercury pollution requires a coordinated international response.

Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin that can make its way up the food chain into humans, and poses an increased exposure risk to developing fetuses and young children and to adults exposed to mercury.

The report is simultaneously co-released by more than 20 NGOs around the world, namely - Zero Mercury Working Group, European Environmental Bureau, Ban Toxics!, Mercury Policy Project, Indonesia Toxics-Free Network, World Wildlife Federation - Guinea, Uganda Coalition for Sustainable Development, Pollution Probe, Pesticide Action Network – Mauritius, Jeunes Volontaires pour l'Environnement, Health & Environment Alliance, CEPHED, ACPO, Canadian Environmental Law Association, Pro-biodiversity Conservationations in Uganda (PROBICOU), Uganda Network on Toxic Free Malaria Control (UNETMAC), East African Sustainability Watch Network, Ecologistas en Accion, Legambiente, Arnika, France Nature Environnement, German League for Nature and Environment, DISHA, Sierra Club - US and Canada, NRDC, groundWork

(1)The Zero Mercury Working group, www.zeromercury.org, is an international coalition of more than 75 public interest non­governmental organizations from around the world formed in 2005 by the EEB and the Mercury Policy Project/Ban Mercury Working Group. The aim of the group is to reach “‘Zero’ emissions, demand and supply of mercury, from all sources we can control, towards eliminating mercury in the environment at EU level and globally.”

The European Environmental Bureau, (EEB), www.eeb.org, is a federation of more then 140 environmental citizens’ organisations based in EU Member States and most Accession Countries, as well as in a few neighboring countries. The aim of the EEB is to protect and improve the environment of Europe and to enable the citizens of Europe to play their part in achieving that goal.

Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), http://www.env-health.org is an international non-governmental organisation advocating environmental protection as a means to improving health and well-being. It represents a diverse network of 60 groups representing citizens, patients, women's groups, health professionals, and environmental advocates across Europe. Working at the European level, HEAL focuses on air quality, chemicals, mercury, pesticides, climate change, children's vulnerabilities and many other aspects of EU policy that are relevant to people's health and the environment.