Taiwan donates mercury deposition sampler to DENR
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - March 15, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government of Taiwan has donated a mercury deposition sampler to the Philippines, which will improve the gathering of mercury information in the country.

The equipment worth P500,000 was turned over on March 7 to officials of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) by representatives from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO).

TECO deputy representative James Chu, in his remarks during the turnover ceremony at the DENR main office in Quezon City, said the equipment will help the Philippines protect the environment from the harmful effects of mercury.

“This is a growing friendship and partnership between Taiwan and the Philippines in monitoring mercury and assessing its impact on the environment and human health,” Chu said.

Chu believes the DENR will be at the forefront of enhancing better mercury control on a national scale.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu cited the importance of the equipment for the collection of wet deposition samples.

“The information that we will gather from this joint venture will definitely improve the coordination of monitoring activities in the country and expand regional capabilities for assessing atmospheric mercury transport and deposition which is a critical component of the global mercury cycle,” he said in a statement.

Environment officials are looking for an urban, rural or remote place where the equipment will be installed.

With the equipment, DENR Undersecretary for policy planning and internal affairs Jonas Leones said they can also check if mercury is still being used in mining operations.

“This monitoring equipment will help us address mercury contamination especially in water bodies,” Leones told reporters in an ambush interview.

Rainwater samples will be collected on a weekly basis and shall be submitted to Taiwan for free testing every end of the month. The results, according to officials, are going to be available after a week.

Results of the mercury monitoring in the country will form part of the Asia-Pacific monitoring network that aims to generate data consistent with provisions of the Minamata Convention and be useful in evaluating the effectiveness of pollution control strategies for mercury.

In 2013, the Philippines signed the Minamata Convention during the United Nations Conference on Mercury in Japan’s Kumamoto prefecture.

The Minamata Convention is a globally binding instrument that prescribes the regulation of mercury among member states. It is named after Minamata Bay in Kumamoto, which was contaminated by methyl mercury discharged from a local chemical factory.

Thousands suffered from poisoning and drew the world’s attention to the devastating effects of mercury to the environment and human health.

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