The solution? Shutting down coal-fired energy and banning the mercury trade.
(Geneva, Switzerland) As delegates to the second Conference of the Parties (COP2) of the Minamata Convention on Mercury negotiated for a week over wording for a range of non-binding guidance, the shocking news that global toxic mercury emissions had surged 20% in 5 years was announced by UNEP.
Dr. Tadesse Amera, Co-Chair for IPEN, said, “IPEN has long warned that we are in the midst of a global mercury crisis and has campaigned for a rapid international response. Now that the Convention is finally law, we are on the brink of a catastrophe. If mercury emissions continue to rise at this rate, we are facing massive intensification of ocean pollution and rapid contamination of global fish stocks. Many big fish species are already too toxic to safely eat, and more species will follow. Women in many small island states rely on fish for dietary protein, and our data shows that, for most of them, their mercury levels are above unsafe exposure levels. If we want to protect these island populations, we must take more action immediately. There is only one sure way to stop this runaway mercury pollution and that is to ban the global mercury trade that feeds small scale gold mining and shut down coal power plants polluting the atmosphere.”
Amongst other articles in the magazine, IPEN Co-Chair Olga Speranskaya writes about women leading the fight against the largest mining plant in Russia, the Tominsky MPP plant, owned by a Russian copper company. The company is currently destroying protected forests to clear land and build the mine. Activist scientists at the forefront of this movement describe a domino effect of environmental impacts that threaten to make the populated region uninhabitable.
THE government plans to conduct an inventory of all miners and scrutinise their work environment to control and phase out mercury use. The Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office, Union and Environment, Mr January Makamba, revealed the plan in an interview with the ‘Daily News’ in Dar es Salaam over the weekend.
Sekotong, Lombok: Elawati blames herself for what happened to her son.
Rizki Ashadi is five and still wears a nappy. He sits on a rug on the porch, dribbling and contorting his limbs. The front of his sky-blue top is wet with drool and one of his beautiful liquid brown eyes points inwards.