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UN clinches global deal on cutting mercury emissions

Published on Jan 19, 2013 3:40 PM
 
Unep Executive Director Achim Steiner addresses a press conference on Jan 10, 2013, in Nairobi, Kenya, where he said that mercury, which exists in various forms remains a global threat to human health and the environment. Delegations from some 140 countries have agreed to adopt a ground-breaking treaty limiting the use of health-hazardous mercury, the Swiss foreign ministry said on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP

GENEVA (AFP) - Delegations from some 140 countries have agreed to adopt a ground-breaking treaty limiting the use of health-hazardous mercury, the Swiss foreign ministry said on Saturday.

The world's first legally binding treaty on mercury, reached after a week of thorny talks, will aim to reduce global emission levels of the toxic heavy metal, also known as quicksilver, which poses risks to human health and the environment.

"The new treaty aims to reduce the production and the use of mercury, especially in the production of products and in industrial processes," the Swiss foreign ministry said in a statement.

Countries will be asked to sign the treaty next October in Minamata, Japan, in honour of the town's inhabitants who for decades have suffered the consequences of serious mercury contamination, the statement said.

 
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