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Jul 12, 2020 @ 8:19

Amid a series of bad news, Duterte administration lauded for ratifying Mercury treaty

Amid growing government opposition, at least based on social media of legitimate accounts (not trolls), the Duterte administration was able to manage to do one thing right and an environmental justice watchdog is happy about it.

To be specific, the Philippine government has ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury, an international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from man-made emissions of mercury and mercury compounds.

In a statement, environmental justice watchdog BAN Toxics lauded the government for such a move, which makes the Philippines the 123rd country in the world to join the treaty.

The Minamata Convention provides a comprehensive policy to address mercury emissions to soil, water and the atmosphere, phase out mercury use in products and processes, and the regulation of the informality of the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector (ASGM). It also addresses the storage and disposal of the chemical.

“We laud the Duterte administration in taking the first step in the fight against mercury,” said Reynaldo San Juan, Executive Director of BAN Toxics.

“Mercury is a global problem, and by joining the community of nations in addressing the mercury scourge, the Philippines improves its chances in fighting off this deadly toxin,” he added.

Mercury is a toxic chemical with negative effects on both human health and the environment and is listed by the World Health Organization as one of their top chemicals of major health concern.

Exposure to mercury may cause harmful effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems and may also be fatal.

Primary sources of human exposure to mercury are from dental amalgams, mercury-laden hospital devices, and gold mining activities.

BAN Toxics has been pushing the Philippine government to take action to curb mercury use in the country since 2007.

“Our fight against mercury does not end here. The only way we can ensure the safety of the Filipinos, especially the future generations, against mercury is by adapting the Minamata Convention into our local laws and implementing it,” said San Juan.

“We look forward to the quick action of Pres. Duterte against mercury, now that the Philippines is a party to the Minamata Convention,” he added.


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