Say Good-Bye To Mercury! Indyact Contributes In Drafting A Treaty To Ban Mercury Worldwide!

Say Good-Bye To Mercury! Indyact Contributes In Drafting A Treaty To Ban Mercury Worldwide!
 
It’s poisonous and it’s in the air, in the water in our food and even in our tooth filling. Mercury is what we are talking about. An anonymous enemy to the entire world due to its wide spread everywhere as gas and liquid form metal. IndyACT has for long been an active partner and active contributing to the policy making process in the Zero Mercury International and working group and victory finally came in when the treaty to ban Mercury mining and use was drafted on January 19 in Geneva during the fifth session of the "Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee - INC5” conference. 
 
The negotiations which are lead by the United Nations Environment Program - UNEP started in 2009 and included a number of international NGO among which was IndyACT. After five long sessions the committee drafted the "The Minamata Treaty on Mercury" which according to IndyACT’s campaigner Dr Naji Kodeih is a great achievement. 
“Having the treaty is an achievement especially that it answered to many of our demands but yet it didn’t cover all our ambitions,” said Dr Kodeih.
 
According to Dr Kodeih the treaty is a success since it will ban all forms of use of Mercury within the next 5 to 10 years. The introduction is also based on Rio 20+ targets which entitles that countries share mutual responsibility in this matter. Also, the treaty prohibits the mining of mercury and looking for new sources of Mercury. In other words, all mercury mines around the world will be given a 5 years grace period to shut down.
 
The danger of mercury lies in the fact that it is used in a number of products that we use daily like the measurement instruments (like thermometers) and in power-saving light bulbs, batteries, and even tooth fillings. This is why the treaty will also control the rules of trade in Mercury among countries and phase down its use in the medical industry and specifically dentistry. 
The Global Environmental Fund - GEF will be in charge of financing the process of eliminating the use of mercury worldwide and especially in the developing countries according to Dr Kodeih. 
 
“We can ask the developing countries to comply with the convention when we provide them with needed funds for and needed technical assistance!” explained Dr Kodeih.
 
The treaty will become effective when 50 countries sign and agree to comply to it next October 2013. We sure hope that the Lebanese government is among these countries as we have always been pioneers in complying with international treaties for human health.
For the record, the “Minamata Treaty on mercury” was called as such in reference to the Mercury poisoning accident that lead to the death of over 2000 people in Minamata area in Japan.
 

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