(Geneva, Switzerland): In a world first, the environmental treaty named after the devastating mercury pollution tragedy in Minamata, Japan, has just announced its decision to release global guidance on the clean up of mercury polluted sites.
After 4 years of hard negotiations and campaigning by IPEN, overcoming resistance from global powers such as the EU and the US, and with the steadfast support of the African region and many other countries, the Minamata Convention on Mercury has finally adopted official Contaminated Sites Guidance.
Today, at the opening session of the Mercury Treaty COP3, Mr. Koichiro Matsunaga, Minamata Disease Patient, addressed the delegates in plenary. In a moving statement, Mr. Matsunaga, who was exposed to mercury in the womb, reminded delegates of the real-life implications of mercury poisoning. Born in 1963, Mr. Matsunaga could not walk until 7 years old due to Minamata Disease. Despite his disabilities, he enjoyed riding bicycles, but in 2010, it became difficult for him to walk because of increasing pain, which forced him to live in a wheelchair. He stated, "Minamata disease is not over yet. Problems have not been solved yet. I do not want to see any more children suffer like us." He implored delegates: "Please take appropriate control of mercury for future children. I need the whole world to avoid causing any more tragedy by mercury."
These briefs provide information about why IPEN believes guidance on contaminated sites must be adopted at the COP3; why 1 mg/kg for mercury waste thresholds should be the maximum concentration for health and environment protections; and why IPEN suports amendments to Annex A and B of the treaty.
This document presents IPEN's views about some issues that will be addressed at the 3rd Conference of the Parties for the Mercury Treaty, including open burning, effectiveness evaluation, review of Annexes A & B, waste thresholds, contaminated sites, and more.
(Gothenburg, Sweden): Highly toxic chemicals, posing dire risks to human health, have been found in dangerous concentrations in free-range chicken eggs in Indonesian communities where plastic waste accumulates. Among the alarming findings were high levels of dioxins in eggs collected near an Indonesian factory that burns plastics for fuel. The high dioxin concentrations are similar to levels in eggs collected near the Agent Orange hotspot in Bien Hoa, Vietnam, considered one of the most dioxin-contaminated locations on earth. The study is the first to demonstrate food chain contamination in Southeast Asia with high levels of hazardous chemicals as a consequence of waste mismanagement and plastic waste imports.
CIDAHU, Indonesia — Thousands of children with crippling birth defects. Half a million people poisoned. A toxic chemical found in the food supply. Accusations of a government cover-up and police officers on the take.
This is the legacy of Indonesia’s mercury trade, a business intertwined with the lucrative and illegal production of gold.