Global treaty to cut mercury poisoning comes into force

A global treaty aimed at tackling mercury poisoning has come into force this week. A total of 74 nations have committed to reducing the risks to human health and the […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

A global treaty aimed at tackling mercury poisoning has come into force this week.

A total of 74 nations have committed to reducing the risks to human health and the environment from the harmful release of mercury under the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

Mercury is listed by the UN as one of the top 10 chemicals endangering human health and the environment, with around 8,900 tonnes emitted every year.

Governments that are party to the Convention are now legally bound to take a range of measures including banning new mercury mines, phasing out existing ones and regulating the use of mercury in manufacturing processes, light bulbs and batteries.

The Convention also seeks to reduce emissions as side effects from other industrial processes such as coal-fired power stations and waste incineration.

Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment said: “The Minamata Convention shows that our global work to protect our planet and its people can continue to bring nations together. We did it for the Ozone layer and now we’re doing it for mercury, just as we need to do it for climate change – a cause that the Minamata Convention will also serve. Together, we can clean up our act.”