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Minamata Convention on Mercury

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Minamata Convention on Mercury

Recently, the Fourth Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COPA) is being held in Bali, Indonesia.

Minamata Convention on Mercury

  • The Minamata Convention on Mercury was adopted in Geneva in 2013. It is the world’s first legally binding treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury.
  • The convention is named after the Japanese city (Minamata) that became the epicenter of Minamata disease in the 1950 Minamata disease is a neurological disease caused by severe mercury poisoning.
  • India signed this convention in the year 2014, and ratified it in the year
  • This convention came into force in the year Along with Indonesia, the United Nations has also presented a global manifesto at the conference held in Bali. It calls on the parties to the Minamata Convention to combat the illegal trade in mercury on a global scale. However, this declaration is non-binding.

In this, the parties have been called upon to:-

  • Develop practical tools to monitor and manage mercury trade, issue notifications, and also develop a system for sharing information.
  • Share experiences and methods of dealing with the illegal trade in mercury. Minimize the use of mercury in handcrafted and small scale gold mining.

Other conventions:

  • Rotterdam Convention: It deals with the use of certain types of hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade.
  • Basel Convention: It deals with the control of cross-border movement of hazardous wastes and their disposal.
  • Vienna Convention: It deals with the protection of the ozone layer.
  • Stockholm Convention: It deals with Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS).

The World Health Organization has included mercury in the top ten chemicals or groups of chemicals that cause great concern to public health. It can have toxic effects on the nervous system, digestive and immune systems, lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes.

India is the second largest user of mercury in the world after the United States.

Source – The Hindu

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