Philippines ratifies treaty on mercury phaseout
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - July 13, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the world’s first legally binding treaty to phase out mercury.

The government recently deposited the instrument of ratification of the Minamata Convention. The Philippines is the 123rd country to join the treaty.

The Convention is an international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from man-made emissions of mercury and mercury compounds.

It provides a comprehensive policy to address mercury emissions to soil, water and the atmosphere, phase out mercury use in products and processes, and regulate the informality of the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector.

It also addresses the storage and disposal of the chemical.

Environmental group Ban Toxics lauded the government in taking the first step in the fight against mercury.

“Mercury is a global problem, and by joining the community of nations in addressing the mercury scourge, the Philippines improves its chances in fighting off this deadly toxin,” Ban Toxics executive director Reynaldo San Juan said.

The Philippines is among the 128 countries which signed the Minamata Convention in 2013. The mercury treaty entered into force in August 2017.

Mercury is a toxic chemical with negative effects on both human health and the environment and is listed by the World Health Organization as one of the top chemicals of major health concern.

The WHO has warned that mercury exposure can damage the nervous, digestive, respiratory, endocrine and immune systems.

It could also lead to impaired vision and hearing, cause paralysis, affect the development of the fetus, and cause developmental delays in children.

Ban Toxics has pushed the government to take action to curb mercury use in the country since 2007.

MINAMATA CONVENTION
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