PH close to ratifying Minamata treaty
The Philippines is inching closer to the ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury — a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury — nearly six years after its signing.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said the culmination of the Philippine Minamata Initial Assessment (MIA) project, which looked into the readiness of the country as a party to the treaty, could serve as a kickoff point for the government’s campaign for a mercury-free lifestyle.
“Once it ratifies the convention, the Philippines will be protected from being a dumping ground for products containing mercury,” Cimatu said in a statement.
“[It] will help avoid further risk to the country’s aquatic life, where mercury levels have been increasing,” he said.
Joe Amil Salino, MIA project coordinator, said at least 14 government agencies had concurred with the decision to ratify.
He said the documents had been forwarded to the Department of Foreign Affairs and would soon be transmitted to the Office of the President for ratification, then the Senate for concurrence.
In 2013, the Philippines was one of the 128 nations that signed the convention, which regulates the use and trade of mercury. The treaty officially entered into force in August 2017.
In a countrywide assessment released last week, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources identified at least 18 hot spots, including rivers, landfills and mining sites, as potential areas of mercury pollution.
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