All News




Why in News?

Recently, Indonesia has introduced a global declaration that calls on parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury to tackle illegal trade of mercury.


  • The declartion was in Bali were Indonesia is hosting the fourth Conference of Parties (COP4) to the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
  • Objectives of  the conference
  • Develop practical tools and notification and information-sharing systems for monitoring and managing trade in mercury.
  • Exchange experiences and practices relating to combating illegal trade in mercury.

Minimata Convention

  • The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury and its compounds.
  • It was agreed at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Geneva, Switzerland 2013.
  • Controlling the anthropogenic releases of mercury throughout its lifecycle is one of the key obligations under the Convention.
  • The Convention also addresses interim storage of mercury and its disposal once it becomes waste, sites contaminated by mercury as well as health issues.
  • Countries that have ratified the Convention are bound by international law to put these controls in place.
  • India has ratified the Convention.


  • Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in air, water and soil.
  • Exposure to mercury  even small amounts  may cause serious health problems, and is a threat to the development of the child in utero and early in life.
  • Mercury may have toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, and on lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes.
  • Mercury is considered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as one of the top ten chemicals.
  • People are mainly exposed to methylmercury, (an organic compound) when they eat fish.
  • Methylmercury is very different from ethylmercury. Ethylmercury is used as a preservative in some vaccines and does not pose a health risk.