The report, ‘Towards a pollution-free planet’, was launched during the first Conference of Parties for the Minamata Convention, which addresses mercury issues.
It is an international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.The Convention is named after the Japanese city, Minamata. This naming is of symbolic importance as the city went through devastating
incident of mercury poisoning.
The convention has prohibited a myriad of products containing mercury, and their production and trade will be altogether prohibited by 2020. These products include batteries, compact fluorescent lamps, switches and relays, soaps and cosmetics, thermometers, and blood pressure devices. Furthermore, it has gone as far as prohibiting vaccines containing mercury, as well as dental fillings which use mercury amalgam. The biggest mercury release comes from coal-fired power stations and usage of mercury to separate gold from ore-bearing rock. Mercury from the factories is released into a river system.
The Convention requires countries to come up with plans to reduce the amount of mercury used by gold miners. The treaty also organizes and support financially mercury awareness campaigns by which it gives support for mercury-free alternatives.
2. SOLID EFFORT BRINGS LAURELS TO ALAPPUZHA
Alappuzha is among five cities of the world whose efforts in solid waste management have been recognized as success stories by the United Nations environment body United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).Besides Alappuzha, the other cities that feature in the list are Osaka (Japan),
Ljubljana (Slovenia), Penang (Malaysia) and Cajica (Colombia).
In a report, ‘Solid approach to waste: how 5 cities are beating pollution’, it notes that while many have yet to rise to the challenge, these five cities have successfully created ‘a solid approach to waste. ‘According to the UNEP Alappuzha addressed the problem by introducing a decentralized
waste management system.