Mercury Pollution Impacts Indigenous Peoples
PUNTA DEL ESTE, Uruguay, June 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by IPEN:
Non-government organizations from around the world voiced concerns today that international treaty negotiations on mercury currently underway are likely to fall short of goals and have the potential to increase – not reduce – mercury emissions.
Delegates from more than 120 countries are meeting in Uruguay at the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to prepare a global legally binding instrument on mercury (INC). Organized by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), this is the fourth meeting in a series of six meetings to negotiate a global binding treaty to control and end mercury pollution.
"The treaty must take genuine steps to protect human health and the environment. While limited progress was made at the third INC meeting in Nairobi eight months ago, unsatisfactory measures on important treaty elements along with the complete stalemate on emissions and financial considerations raise concerns whether the treaty will affect the rising trend in mercury levels. Without authentic action to address mercury sources the treaty may actually legitimize the rising emissions while failing to protect human health and the environment," said Fernando Bejarano INC4 Chair for IPEN, an international non-governmental organization attending the meeting and advocating for strong mercury control measures.
Non-governmental organizations are calling for measures that:
- Cut off rising mercury pollution to the atmosphere, water soil and fish across the global
- Ensure national action plans are developed and funded to realize the treaty objectives
- End pro-poverty policies which enable mercury use in artisanal gold mining
- Eliminate products containing mercury while promoting innovation for mercury-free products.
Mercury is a global pollutant that is toxic in various forms, as it bioacummulates in the food chain and can trespass placenta and brain, harming children, women and others exposed to it. 10 years UNEP stated that mercury is present all over the globe in concentrations that adversely affect human beings and wildlife.
"Without a serious commitment to develop such a treaty, we risk simply legitimizing the current and future contamination of our food, water and children," said Fernando Bejarano IPEN INC4 Chair IPEN.