Saint Lucia to host conference geared towards eliminating mercury use

PRESS RELEASE: Saint Lucia will join countries in the region on October 25, 2017, at the Financial Administrative Centre, Pointe Seraphine, to discuss the Minamata Convention, adopted in January 2013, which aims to reduce or prevent the adverse effects of mercury and its compounds produced from anthropogenic activities on the environment and human health. 128 countries have signed onto the convention and over 50 countries have ratified the convention. The convention will enter into force on August 16, 2017.

Project Objective

The Minamata Initial Assessments of the Caribbean [Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago] also known as the “MIA Project” is a regional project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and facilitated by the Basel Convention Regional Centre for Technology Transfer in the Caribbean (BCRC-Caribbean). This project aims to enhance the scientific and technical knowledge of key stakeholders, for decision making regarding the ratification and early implementation of the Minamata Convention’s Obligations. The Saint Lucian component of the MIA Project is held in conjunction with the Department of Sustainable Development and the BCRC-Caribbean.

The Minamata Initial Assessments of the Caribbean [Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago] also known as the “MIA Project” is a regional project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and facilitated by the Basel Convention Regional Centre for Technology Transfer in the Caribbean (BCRC-Caribbean). This project aims to enhance the scientific and technical knowledge of key stakeholders, for decision making regarding the ratification and early implementation of the Minamata Convention’s Obligations. The Saint Lucian component of the MIA Project is held in conjunction with the Department of Sustainable Development and the BCRC-Caribbean.

What is the importance of Mercury?

Mercury is considered a toxic element that cannot be destroyed and is easily absorbed by organic tissue. As mercury compounds, in particular methylmercury, are not as easily removed within the body, these compounds accumulate and magnifies the concentration in the organism. Mercurial compounds are mostly water-soluble and therefore absorption and further bioaccumulation is more susceptible to aquatic animals. Aquatic animals are rarely the top predator and so the concentration in organisms biomagnify higher up the food chain, resulting in top predators such as humans and sharks, having the highest concentration of mercurial compounds within their system. Mercury or commonly known as “quicksilver” can be found in a range of products from medical and laboratory instruments such as thermometers and manometers, to cosmetic products such as eye mascara and skin lightening cream to vaccines used to treat influenza.

We do not participate in Gold mining or manufacturing, why is this still important?

Ratification of the Minamata Convention will mean that your country is required to fulfil many of the obligations stated within the Convention. Some obligations are to ban the use of mercury and mercury-added products [which may be extensive for Caribbean countries], to encourage proper waste management especially mercury-containing material, prevent the construction of any future mines, or any industrial process that may use mercury (see checklist for full details on Obligations to the Minamata Convention). As a component of the MIA project, fish consumption guidelines will be produced based on scientific evidence of mercury concentrations in consumable and native aquatic based animals.

2 Comments

  1. Cosie
    October 24, 2017 at 5:38 pm Reply

    A good move, but what about Amalgam fillings? The main component of these fillings is mercury which has lead to many people becoming very sick and disabled.

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