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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 New Study Raises Concern over Mercury Pollution from Burning Products
New Study Raises Concern over Mercury Pollution from Burning Products PDF Print
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 01:00
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Feb. 4, 2009; [Brussels] - A new international study released today shows how the burning of mercury- containing products is increasing the risk of environmental and health impacts around the world. [1] The study states that incineration and burning send upwards of 200 tons of mercury into the atmosphere every year, comprising 10 percent of the mercury that enters the earth's atmosphere through human activities.

"Based on this report's findings, we must recognize that the amount of mercury released into the atmosphere through incineration and burning is much more significant than previously suspected, representing at least twice the emissions as previously thought," said Michael Bender, Director of the Mercury Policy Project.

The study, entitled "Mercury Rising: Reducing Global Emissions from Burning Mercury-Added Products," has been released by several international non-governmental organizations.i Similar studies that previously estimated mercury emissions from the combustion of wastes and products containing mercury did not look carefully at the substantial emissions contributed by landfill fires and open burning of domestic waste in addition to incinerators. The report underscores the harmful environmental and health impacts posed by incineration and burning.

The main burning processes investigated in the report were medical waste incineration, municipal and hazardous waste incineration, municipal wastewater sludge incineration, landfill fires and open burning of discarded products such as fluorescent light bulbs and mercury thermometers.

Using Asia as an example, the magnitude of emissions in East and Southeast Asia due to landfill fires and open burning of domestic waste are shown to be quite significant, reflecting a combination of open burning, especially in rural areas, a large quantity of products containing mercury in the region and very low recycling rates. In Japan, the generation of large volumes of waste, relatively high use of mercury-added products and incineration of a very high percentage of waste also contribute to the magnitude of regional atmospheric mercury content.

The report recommends that, at the upcoming February meeting in Nairobi, of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), establish an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for the purpose of negotiating a free-standing legally binding instrument on mercury.


In the interim period before such an instrument becomes effective, the report recommends UNEP take the following actions:

  • Assume responsibility for the awareness-raising, analytical, technical and legal support activities
    necessary to encourage manufacturers of mercury-added products, and countries where such

manufacturers are located, to identify and implement the actions; and

  • Recognize that combustion of mercury-added products in incinerators, landfill fires and open burning of domestic waste is a significant contributor of mercury and other toxics in both local and global ecosystems, and urge countries to take steps to stop these practices and move towards

safe, just, sustainable and more environmentally-sound alternatives.

END

CONTACTS:

1. Michael Bender, Mercury Policy Project, telephone # +01 802-223-9000, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it '; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text49129 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

2. Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, T: +32 2 2891301, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

3. Vanessa Bulkacz, T: +32 2 2891309, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

The report “Mercury Rising: Reducing Global Emissions from Burning Mercury-Added Products” is available at

http://www.zeromercury.org/International_developments/FINAL_MercuryRising_Feb2009.pdf

Press release, available at http://www.zeromercury.org/press/090204-HgBurnPRfinal.pdf

Notes:

[1] Mercury and its compounds are highly toxic to humans, especially to the developing nervous system. They are also harmful to ecosystems and wildlife populations.

For more information about mercury please visit: www.zeromercury.org

i             This report is authored by the Mercury Policy Project: see www.mercurypolicy.org, and is co-released by

the following:

The Zero Mercury Working group is an international coalition of more than 75 public interest non­governmental organizations from around the world formed in 2005 by the European Environmental Bureau and the Mercury Policy Project/Ban Mercury Working Group. The aim of the group is to continually reduce emissions, demand and supply of mercury, from all sources we can control, with the goal of eliminating mercury in the environment at EU level and globally. Please see www.zeromercury.org

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives / Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance (GAIA) is a worldwide alliance of more than 600 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 80 countries whose ultimate vision is a just, toxic-free world without incineration. GAIA work against incinerators and for safe, sustainable and just alternatives. Further information may be found at www.no-burn.org

Ban Toxics! is an independent non-profit Asian regional environmental non-governmental organization that is focused on empowering local communities on the issue of toxics in order to reform national and regional toxics policy, making it more responsive and respectful to the needs of people and the environment. Ban Toxics! is an active member of Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) and is the Asia-Pacific node of the Basel Action Network. Please see www.bantoxics.multiply.com