Written by Didier Bourguignon (1st edition),
The United Nations’ Minamata Convention on mercury was agreed in 2013 with a view to protecting human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. Although mercury use has declined significantly in recent decades, mercury released into the air, water and land remains a serious threat to human health and the environment. Once emitted into the air or water, mercury can travel over long distances, which makes it a global problem.
Current EU policy bans exports of mercury, provides for the storage of mercury waste, restricts the use of mercury in various products and seeks to address pollution caused by it. However, there are some regulatory gaps between EU legislation and the Minamata Convention. The European Commission has recently submitted a legislative proposal aiming to align this legislation with the Convention in view of its ratification.
Stakeholders are divided over the proposal. The European Parliament’s Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) is expected to consider the proposal in the coming months.
- March 2016 ‘Mercury Aligning EU legislation with Minamata‘, (1st Edition)