World’s First Mercury Treaty adopted by 140 Countries at Geneva

140 nations adopted the world’s first mercury treaty on 19 February 2013 at Geneva to limit the use of health hazardous mercury.

Feb 20, 2013 14:35 IST
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An international treaty that legally binds the nation to limit the use of health hazardous mercury was adopted by 140 nations in the third week of January 2013 at Geneva.

The treaty would be signed in Minamata, Japan, in October 2013 to honour the inhabitants of town who have suffered the consequences of serious mercury contamination for decades

The treaty that was reached after four years of difficult negotiations will aim at

• Reduction of global emission levels of the toxic heavy metal or the quick silver
• Reduce the production and the use of mercury in industrial processes and product production
• To cut mercury pollution from utility plants, mining, a host of products and industrial processes, and set enforceable limits as well as to encourage alternatives where mercury in not used or released

Making of the treaty

Switzerland and Norway pushed forward for making of an international treaty to limit the emission of Mercury in the atmosphere. The two nations came up with the plans of reducing the emission of mercury decades ago and it was finalized after a long conference in Geneva held in February 2013.

Impact of Mercury on Human Being
The natural element Mercury cannot be created or destroyed, but is released in air, water and land from different activities like coal powder plants, gold mining activities as well as electrical goods and other consumer products. Mercury enters the food-chain via fish and poses a threat to the living being more likely to pregnant women and children. As per the data released by the World Health Organisation intake of mercury or any of its compounds to any limit is not safe and it may lead to memory loss, language impairment and kidney damage.

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