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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.

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Publications 2009

Introduction and background
Mercury is an extremely toxic metal that is now ubiquitous in the environment due to centuries of unchecked releases. When airborne, mercury is a transcontinental pollutant that, once deposited, bioaccumulates and bioconcentrates as it makes its way up the food chain. Exposure to mercury, even at low levels, has been linked to central nervous system damage, kidney and liver impairment, reproductive and development disorders, defects in fetuses and learning deficits.
Introduction
It is widely known that mercury is highly toxic, causing damage in particular to the nervous system, with the highest risk to humans occurring during the early development phases.

In response to European Union and global concerns about mercury pollution, the aim of the Community Mercury Strategy is to reduce mercury levels in the environment, and thereby reduce human exposure, by restricting mercury use, supply, and releases. These critical objectives were also key factors behind the recent 25th UNEP Governing Council Decision to begin negotiating a legally binding instrument on mercury, with the aim to have a treaty in place by 2013.
Introduction
Il est de notoriété publique que le mercure est hautement toxique, et atteint notamment le système nerveux en particulier, avec un risque maximum pour les humains dans les premières phases de leur développement.
Mercury in Fish: A Global Health Hazard

Executive Summary

Methylmercury contamination of fish and fish-eating mammals is a global public health concern. The risk is greatest for populations whose per capita fish consumption is high, and in areas where environmental pollution has elevated the average mercury content of fish. But methylmercury hazards also exist where per capita fish consumption and average mercury levels in fish are comparatively low. In cultures where fish-eating marine mammals such as whales and seals are part of the traditional diet, methylmercury in these animals adds to total dietary exposure.

10 February 2009
Mercury in fish executive summary (EN) (1.17 MB)
 hot
Methylmercury contamination of fish and fish-eating mammals is a global public health concern. The risk is greatest for populations whose per capita fish consumption is high, and in areas where environmental pollution has elevated the average mercury content of fish. But methylmercury hazards also exist where per capita fish consumption and average mercury levels in fish are comparatively low. In cultures where fish- eating marine mammals such as whales and seals are part of the traditional diet, methylmercury in these animals adds to total dietary exposure.
10 February 2009
Mercury in fish executive summary (FR) (1.24 MB)
La contamination par le methylmercure des poissons et des mammiferes piscivores constitue une preoccupation de sante publique a l' echelle mondiale. Les populations dont la consommation de poisson par habitant est elevee sont les plus exposees, mais ce risque concerne egalement les regions oil la pollution environnementale a augmente la teneur moyenne en mercure du poisson.
10 February 2009
Mercury in fish executive summary (ES) (1.18 MB)
 hot
La contaminaciOn por metilmercurio de pescados y mamiferos que se alimentan de pescado es un problema de salud pilblica. El riesgo es mayor para las poblaciones cuyo consumo de pescado es alto, en zonas donde la contaminaciOn ha elevado el contenido medio de mercurio en el pescado. Pero el peligro del metilmercurio tambien existe donde el consumo de pescado y su contaminaciOn por mercurio son, comparativamente, bajos. En las culturas donde ademas los mamiferos marinos que se alimentan de pescado, como ballenas y focas, forman parte de la dieta tradicional, la exposiciOn al mercurio aumenta de forma considerable
10 February 2009
Mercury in fish executive summary (PT) (1.20 MB)
A contaminacào por metilmerciirio em peixes e mamiferos que se alimentam de peixes é uma preocupacao mundial de sande pfiblica. 0 risco é maior para populaciies cujo consumo per capita é alto, e em areas onde a poluicào ambiental tem aumentado o contendo medio de merciirio empeixes. Mas os riscos do metilmerciirio tambem existem onde o consumo per capita e os niveis medios de merciirio em peixe sào comparativamente baixos. Em culturas em que fazem parte da dieta tradicional os mamiferos marinhos que se alimentam de peixes tais como baleias e focas, o metilmerciirio nesses animais aumenta a exposicào total na dieta.
10 February 2009
Mercury in fish executive summary (CHI) (1.16 MB)
 hot
Executive summary
This assessment has been prepared for the Mercury Policy Project/Tides Center and is being co-released by the Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG), Ban Toxics! and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA).
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