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A Toxics-Free Future


No More Minamatas - New Film & Efforts to Curb Mercury Pollution

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A new film starring Johnny Depp, "Minamata", directed by Andrew Levitas, tells the story of the legendary photo-journalist Eugene Smith and his wife Aileen Mioko Smith whose LIFE Magazine photos and book Minamata brought global attention to the devastating impacts of mercury pollution and exposed the corporate malfeasance of the Chisso Corporation that knowingly poured mercury-contaminated wastewater into Minamata Bay for decades. The film is an important opportunity to hold polluters accountable and to move global policy to more effectively curb mercury pollution.

Despite the Minamata Convention on Mercury, global mercury emissions have risen by a staggering 20% over the last 5 years with no reduction in sight. The Minamata Convention needs stronger controls to effectively curb mercury contamination. Extensive lobbying by powerful energy and gold industry groups resulted in three major weaknesses in the treaty that undermine its efficacy: a virtual exemption for controls on oil and gas, weak controls for coal-fired power stations, and an ongoing allowance for mercury supply to small-scale gold mining.

We are glad to have IPEN representation at the film’s world premiere at the Berlinale film festival and to circulate information to help amplify the call for justice for ALL those suffering Minamata Disease in Japan who have yet to receive recognition and compensation. To effectively end mercury and ensure #NoMoreMinamatas we must #BanMercuryTrade.