(Breaking) Seven EU countries ratify Minamata Convention on Mercury, enters into force on August 16


A major milestone was achieved on Thursday May 18, 2017 in the global effort to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury as seven European Union countries namely Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungray, Malta, Netherlands, Romania and Sweden deposited instrument of ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury bringing the total ratifications to 51.

With this development, the Convention has reached the 50 countries ratification requirements and it will enter into force on August 16, 2017.

A check on the Convention website by Ecogreen News on Thursday May 18, 2017 shows that 128 countries have signed the Convention while 51 had ratified it.

Ecogreen News reported last week that the Council of EU had given approval for ratification of the Convention.

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 on the morning of Saturday, January 19, 2013 and adopted later that year on 10 October 2013 at a Diplomatic Conference (Conference of Plenipotentiaries), held in Kumamoto, Japan.

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 Secretariat of the Convention has slated the first Conference of Parties (COP1) to the Convention for the last week in September 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland.