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A Toxics-Free Future

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Minamata Convention

Mercury Country Situation Reports (2018)

Robust public and political support for national policies on mercury is a prerequisite for widespread ratification and effective implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. NGOs are essential actors that can effectively raise public and governmental awareness and create an environment in which ratifying and implementing the Mercury Treaty becomes an imperative.

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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.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/30/world/asia/indonesia-gold-environment-mercury.html

One large mining company is trying to shut illegal operations, which use mercury. The small-scale miners say there’s no other way to earn a living.

By Richard C. Paddock

Photographs by Adam Dean

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