Environment-advocate group EcoWaste Coalition yesterday renewed its appeal to the government to fast track the country’s ratification of a global treaty that aims to protect public health and the environment from the deleterious effects of mercury poisoning.
The group, through its chemical safety campaign Thony Dizon, made the appeal as they believed that the country is already prepared, willing and able to ratify and implement the provisions of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which the government signed six years ago on October 10, 2013.
“As a matter of fact, our country has already achieved a number of policy and regulatory milestones to control, if not eliminate, mercury pollution from human activities,” Dizon said.
“We therefore request the Duterte government to ratify the treaty and to secure the necessary concurrence by the Senate,” he added.
Dizon cited the phase-out of mercury-based medical devices such as thermometers in 2010, the ban on mercury use in artisanal and small-scale gold mining in 2012, the adoption of extended producer responsibility for mercury lamps in 2013, and the prohibition on over 135 mercury-contaminated skin whitening products from 2010 to 2018.
Most recently, in July 2019, the government launched the “National Action Plan for the Phase-Out of Mercury-Added Products (MAPs) and the Management of the Associated Mercury-Containing Wastes” in anticipation of the global phase-out target by 2020 for specified MAPs.
“The ratification of the pact will strengthen our country’s resolute efforts to combat mercury pollution as this will allow us to fully engage in treaty processes as Party to the Convention. Also, it will allow us to gain more access to financial resources, technology transfer, and capacity-building opportunities,” Dizon pointed out.