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It is proposed that the Convention on Mercury should be ratified

2017-06-29

The Government has applied to the President and proposed to present the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which is one of the most dangerous elements on Earth, to the Seimas for ratification. The European Union signed the document in October 2013 and undertook to ensure that all the member states would adopt respective decisions. Lithuania would be the 13th EU Member State and the 70th state in the world to ratify this Convention.

Mercury is a highly poisonous substance which can severely damage human health, animals, nature and ecosystems. This metal can easily travel large distances by air, land or water; therefore, the threats posed by mercury is a global problem that must be resolved through cooperation at the international level.

“The Minamata Convention establishes guidelines on how human health and the environment should be protected against the adverse effects of mercury; therefore, now it is very important to transpose its provisions into the national law” says Marija Teriošina, Head of the Chemical Substances Division at the Ministry of Environment. “The ratification of the Convention is an important step aimed at reducing the extraction and use of mercury and fighting its pollution, which is particularly relevant for Lithuania”.

The Minamata Convention covers the whole mercury life-cycle and provides for measures that should be taken in the regulation of its stages:

• to reduce and where feasible eliminate the use and release of mercury from both artisanal and small-scale gold mining and large industrial companies;
• to phase-out or reduce mercury use in various products and manufacturing processes, particularly in dental amalgam;
• to prohibit the manufacturing, sales, exports and imports of mercury or mercury-added products (for example, batteries, lamps, thermometers);
• to control and reduce the amounts of mercury emissions released into the air, land and water;
• to ensure the safe storage of mercury waste and proper cleaning of contaminated sites.

Communication Division
29 June 2017

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