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Minamata Convention to help Lithuania fight against mercury pollution

2017-10-12

Lithuania became the 17th country in Europe and the 85th country in the world that ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

After the convention is ratified by the Seimas, the competent institutions of our country will be able to refuse to approve the import of certain mercury compounds. Lithuania will receive information from the respective exporting country about its intention to export sources of mercury or mercury compounds, which will enable us to find out whether they are from a prohibited source or not. We will also receive information about imported and exported mercury compounds and their flows. If these compounds arrive to Lithuania by air or water from other countries of the Minamata Convention and pollution is detected in our country, it will be possible to affect the countries that fail to appropriately fulfil their obligations under the convention so that these countries reduce or terminate the emissions.

Mercury is highly poisonous and can cause considerable harm to people, animals, nature and the ecosystem. This metal travels long distances by air, land or water and can be found far away from the pollution source, which means that the threat it poses is a universal problem, which must be solved through international cooperation and coordination of actions with other countries.

The Minamata Convention lays down guidelines on how to protect human health and the environment against the negative effect of mercury and regulates all the life stages of mercury – mining, processing, use in products and production processes, trade, control of emissions to the atmosphere, water and soil, and management of waste and territories polluted with mercury.

This convention became effective only recently – in August this year. The first meeting of the countries members of the convention was held in Geneva at the end of September. According to Aurelija Bajoraitienė, chief specialist of the Chemicals Division of the Pollution Prevention Department of the Ministry of the Environment who represented Lithuania in this meeting, it was the beginning of the “road” of the new convention.

Public Relations Department
12 October 2017

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas