‘Zero Mercury’ Group: Governments Must Do More to Curb Supply and Trade; Gives governments ‘C-’ grade since mercury treaty approvedPress Release
For Immediate Release
‘Zero Mercury’ Group: Governments Must Do More to Curb Supply and Trade; Gives governments ‘C-’ grade since mercury treaty approved
[Brussels, 29 October 2014] —Governments around the world are not doing enough to reduce the global supply and trade of mercury, according to a new report released today by the Zero Mercury Working Group (‘Zero Mercury.’). But they are showing progress in other areas such as developing plans to reduce mercury use in small scale gold mining and phasing out mercury-based chlorine plants.
The 95-member international coalition of public interest, environmental and health groups graded governments based on an initial assessment of global mercury reduction activities to promote rapid implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury adopted a year ago.
“There are worrying trends in mercury trade and production,” said Margherita Tolotto of the European Environmental Bureau. “We call on governments to do a better job of curtailing mercury flows to promote global mercury use and release reductions, and better protect public health.” added Michael Bender, Zero Mercury Co-Coordinator.
Mercury, a neurotoxin, can cause brain and nervous system damage, and is a particular hazard for the developing fetus and small children.
The countries were graded based on an “Action Challenge” issued by Zero Mercury when the treaty was adopted in October 2013. Grades were based on both government actions and any significant global trends or global activities.
The report graded progress in reducing mercury in the following areas:
• Mercury Supply and Trade: Global Grade C-.
• Mercury Products Phase Out: Global Grade C.
• Mercury Cell Chlor Alkali Phase Out: Global Grade B-.
• Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining National Action Plans: Global Grade B
• Mercury Emissions Standards and Controls: Global Grade C+.
While the report praised the good progress made in the development and implementation of Nation Action Plans to address small-scale gold mining, achieving mercury use and emissions reductions for this sector will require better performance on supply and trade.
“Recently, there have been disturbing international developments pointing to increased mercury production at a time when production should start declining,” said David Lennett, Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Also, much of the mercury trade is for small-scale gold mining, a highly polluting activity. This reinforces the critical importance for more nations to take decisive actions to reduce production and/or ban mercury exports.”
The report notes that developments on supply and trade also have important implications for the Mercury Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) meeting in Bangkok (3-7 November).
“These developments highlight the need for the INC to provide for timely information on mercury production and trade,” said Richard Gutierrez, Executive Director of Ban Toxics. “At the upcoming Convention meeting, governments should develop reporting requirements for mercury production and trade so the Convention can quickly address issues as they arise.”
Zero Mercury also urges governments to request that the Minamata Convention Interim Secretariat provide an update on global mercury supply, demand and trade report in advance of the next Convention meeting, INC 7, to be held in late 2015 or early 2016.
Contact: Margherita Tolotto, Project Support Officer, Zero Mercury Campaign,
Michael Bender, ZMWG Co-Coordinator, +802-917-4579; firstname.lastname@example.org