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Minamata Convention, Mercury Convention

By May 29, 2018

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. It was agreed at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on mercury in Geneva, Switzerland at 7 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, 19 January 2013 and adopted later that year on 10 October 2013 at a Diplomatic Conference (Conference of Plenipotentiaries), held in Kumamoto, Japan.

The Minamata Convention entered into force on 16 August 2017, on the 90th day after the date of deposit of the 50th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

The Convention draws attention to a global and ubiquitous metal that, while naturally occurring, has broad uses in everyday objects and is released to the atmosphere, soil and water from a variety of sources. Controlling the anthropogenic releases of mercury throughout its lifecycle has been a key factor in shaping the obligations under the Convention.

Major highlights of the Minamata Convention include a ban on new mercury mines, the phase-out of existing ones, the phase out and phase down of mercury use in a number of products and processes, control measures on emissions to air and on releases to land and water, and the regulation of the informal sector of artisanal and small-scale gold mining. The Convention also addresses interim storage of mercury and its disposal once it becomes waste, sites contaminated by mercury as well as health issues.

The Booklet of the Convention can be downloaded in the 6 official UN languages following these links here

Find here relevant information, in english, french, spanish:
- Information
 - E-Learn: UNITAR and UN Environment “MearcuryLearn platform”
- publications
-   videos

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Comments (2)
Michael (Adm) FEGERL (2018-08-28 09:57:47)

Regional Study on Mercury Waste Management in the ASEAN Countries / UNEP, 2017

(144 pages) This report provides information on the current state of the mercury waste management systems in each ASEAN Member State (AMS) jurisdiction, which includes the regulatory framework, institutional framework, mercury waste management infrastructure and operations, as well as the information and control elements. In addition, it also provides information on the mercury management practices for selected activities, inventories of mercury and mercury waste, and AMS’ input on the challenges, needs and opportunities implementing the environmentally sound management (ESM) of mercury waste in the region.
The  scoping  study  serves  as  a  preliminary  assessment  of  the  current  mercury  waste  management  systems  and practices in the ASEAN member states (AMS). It is aimed at identifying the current available sources of the relevant information, summarizing the essential information, and identifying gaps of information, challenges, needs and opportunities for further studies or actions.
The  scoping  study  covers  all  AMS  jurisdictions,  while  sector-wise,  it  focuses  on  Mercury  in  the  Artisanal  and  Small-scale Gold Mining (ASGM); Mercury waste from the chemical manufacturing industry using the Chlor-Alkali process; as well as mercury in fluorescent lamps from industry and household sources. In terms of the Hazardous Waste Management (HWM) aspects under the BC Art. 4 and MC Art. 11, the study covers policies; legislative and regulatory framework; institutional framework; main sources/generators, waste prevention and minimization; handling, separation, collection, packaging and labelling, transportation, storage; treatment and disposal; and contaminated sites.

Michael (Adm) FEGERL (2018-08-28 09:56:37)

Global Mercury Waste Assessment Report / UNEP (2017):

(49 pages) The International Environmental Technology Centre has been implementing the project on
 Environmentally Sound Management of Mercury since 2015 with funding from the government of Japan. As part of the project results, UN Environment launched the Global Mercury Waste Assessment Report (English) at the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention in September 2017, in Geneva.
Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish
The  assessment  describes  the  current  mercury  waste  management practices in these countries, and provides a  basis  for  understanding  the  size  and  nature  of  the  gap  between  current  practices  and  the  environmentally sound mercury waste management envisioned in the Minamata Convention. The central finding is clear: The gap  between  the  provisions  of  the  Minamata  Convention and the current mercury waste management practices is wide.
The  options  for  disposal  of  mercury  waste  under  the  Basel Convention Technical Guidelines are final disposal of stabilized and solidified mercury in a specially engineered landfill or permanent storage of stabilized and solidified mercury in a secure underground storage facility that uses storage vessels specifically designed for the purpose.  Only  a  few  countries  have  the  technology  and  equipment for the solidification and stabilization of mercury, and only a limited number of appropriate final disposal  facilities  are  available  around  the  world.  Countries  without facilities of their own can export mercury waste for the purpose of environmentally sound disposal.

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