Why in News?
Recently, Indonesia has introduced a global declaration that calls on parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury to tackle illegal trade of mercury.
- The declartion was in Bali were Indonesia is hosting the fourth Conference of Parties (COP4) to the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
- Objectives of the conference
- Develop practical tools and notification and information-sharing systems for monitoring and managing trade in mercury.
- Exchange experiences and practices relating to combating illegal trade in mercury.
- The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury and its compounds.
- It was agreed at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Geneva, Switzerland 2013.
- Controlling the anthropogenic releases of mercury throughout its lifecycle is one of the key obligations under the Convention.
- The Convention also addresses interim storage of mercury and its disposal once it becomes waste, sites contaminated by mercury as well as health issues.
- Countries that have ratified the Convention are bound by international law to put these controls in place.
- India has ratified the Convention.
- Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in air, water and soil.
- Exposure to mercury even small amounts may cause serious health problems, and is a threat to the development of the child in utero and early in life.
- Mercury may have toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, and on lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes.
- Mercury is considered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as one of the top ten chemicals.
- People are mainly exposed to methylmercury, (an organic compound) when they eat fish.
- Methylmercury is very different from ethylmercury. Ethylmercury is used as a preservative in some vaccines and does not pose a health risk.
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