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."
Nigeria and Japan have undertaken a waste management initiative aimed at obtaining information of mercury emission and release from landfill facilities.
Ahead of a major survey scheduled to hold by January 2010, consultants, civil society organisations, government officials and representatives of the Japanese government have commenced moves to actualise the scheme.
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.