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: Treaty to cut mercury pollution signed by 92 countries, will the US join them?
From: Yojana Sharma, SciDevNet, More from this Affiliate
Published October 24, 2013 06:55 AM

Treaty to cut mercury pollution signed by 92 countries, will the US join them?

A ground-breaking, legally-binding global treaty on reducing mercury pollution has been signed by 92 countries.

The treaty spells "the beginning of the end of mercury as a threat to human health and the environment", UN Environment Programme (UNEP) executive director Achim Steiner, told a diplomatic meeting in Japan earlier this month (10-11 October) where the treaty was signed.

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But much work remains to provide the funding and technical and scientific advice needed to implement the treaty, and to expand mercury monitoring capacity worldwide, experts say.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury will come into force once 50 countries have ratified it. It was agreed in Geneva in January.

"We're hoping that it will take a maximum of three years for ratification and that we will have early ratification based on the overwhelming support we have seen here, with 92 signatories and 139 countries in attendance," Tim Kasten, deputy director of UNEP's Division of Environmental Policy Implementation tells SciDev.Net.

The treaty bans a range of mercury products by 2020 and will forbid the mining of fresh mercury and mercury emissions from new power plants within 15 years of the treaty coming into effect.

Mercury switch image via Shutterstock.

Read more at ENN Affiliate SciDevNet.

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