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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 Le Parlement européen élargit l'interdiction des exportations de mercure et soutient le stockage t...
Le Parlement européen élargit l'interdiction des exportations de mercure et soutient le stockage temporaire du mercure liquide PDF Print
Wednesday, 20 June 2007 01:00

eeb_logo CNIID_logo health_care_without_harm_logo

Paris, le 21 juin 2007. - Le CNIID (1) se félicite du vote du Parlement européen sur la proposition de règlement visant à interdire les exportations de mercure et à stocker en toute sécurité les surplus. Les députés européens ont voté hier en faveur de l'interdiction d'exporter du mercure métallique mais ont également soutenu d'élargir le champ d'application du règlement aux composés mercuriels et aux produits contenant du mercure interdits sur le marché européen. De plus, ils ont approuvé le stockage temporaire des surplus de mercure dans des installations süres sous surveillance continue, jusqu'à ce que les avancées technologiques permettent l'élimination finale, en toute sécurité, de cette substance dangereuse. Le Parlement soutient aussi l'interdiction d'importer du mercure métallique et certains composés mercuriels, mesure protégeant davantage la santé publique européenne.

Ç Il n 'existe pas aujourd'hui de technique pour se débarrasser du mercure liquide en toute sécurité, et le Parlement envoie un signal fort en réaffirmant que son stockage ne peut être que temporaire È constate Wiebke Winkler, responsable << Santé et Environnement >> du CNIID. Les eurodéputés préconisent à ce titre l'application du principe du pollueur-payeur, et recommandent la création d'un fonds avec une contribution financière des industries utilisant du mercure.

Si ce vote constitue un pas important vers un règlement solide, la coalition d'ONG de protection de l'environnement et de la santé déplore que l'interdiction des exportations n'entre en vigueur qu'en décembre 2010, ce qui laissera libre cours à des exportations de mercure vers le marché mondial pendant encore trois ans, avec les risques de contamination qu'elles entra”nent.

<< Il s'agit d'une opportunité décisive de stopper l'exportation de produits contenant du mercure vers les pays en développement >> rappelle Lisette van Vliet de Health Care Without Harm (2). << A l'heure actuelle, nous limitons le commerce de ces produits au sein de l'Union européenne, mais nous acceptons toujours que les pays en développement souffrent des conséquences liées à l'emploi de ces produits. Il est plus que temps de mettre un terme à ce double standard pour témoigner du sérieux de notre implication dans l'élimination progressive de l'usage du mercure partout dans le monde >>.

Le Parlement européen soutient également un échange d'informations entre les parties concernées par ce dossier. Selon ce vote, les Etats membres devront régulièrement informer la Commission sur les mouvements de mercure, tandis que l'industrie du chlore et de la soude, ainsi que toutes les industries concernées, auront l'obligation de fournir les données adéquates. << Il est important de commencer au plus vite la collecte de ces informations, qui permettront de conna”tre la quantité de mercure en question et sa destination >> explique Wiebke Winkler.

Le CNIID et ses partenaires européens appellent maintenant la Commission européenne, la Présidence allemande et les autres gouvernements à suivre l'exemple du Parlement européen en vue d'un potentiel accord politique lors du Conseil des ministres de l'Environnement du 28 juin prochain.

Le mercure et ses composés constituent des substances très toxiques tant pour l'homme que pour l'environnement. A fortes doses, le mercure peut entra”ner la mort, mais des doses relativement faibles suffisent déjà à gravement endommager le système nerveux.

Pour plus d'information, veuillez contacter :

Wiebke Winkler, responsable << Santé et Environnement >> du CNIID au 01 55 78 28 64
Lisette van Vliet, Health Care Without Harm au + 32 2 234 3645


  1. Le CNIID (Centre national d'information indépendante sur les déchets) est une association dédiée à la réduction des déchets à la source, en quantité et en toxicité. Il gère le secrétariat de la Ç Coordination nationale pour la réduction des déchets à la source È, qui regroupe 300 associations locales, et est membre des réseaux internationaux GAIA, Health Care Without Harm et Bureau Européen de l'Environnement.
Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) est une coalition internationale qui compte plus de 460 membres dans plus de 50 pays. HCWH se consacre à la transformation de l’industrie de la santé dans le monde entier, sans compromettre la sécurité des patients ni leurs soins, de facon à ce que cette industrie soit écologiqu