Australia joins the global fight against mercury pollution

10 December 2021

The Australian Government has added its voice to the global fight against mercury pollution by ratifying the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans, said that the Foreign Minister has signed an instrument formally ratifying the treaty and that Australia’s participation will strengthen its reputation as a global leader on environmental issues.

“We know mercury pollution around the world is at such a scale that it cannot be managed by one country alone, and Australia has joined the international fight to combat it,” Assistant Minister Evans said.

“All Australia’s environment ministers have agreed that ratifying the Convention will also deliver more streamlined, nationally consistent controls for mercury, leading to improved environmental protection.

“By ratifying this treaty, we join over 130 other nations in committing to protect human health and the environment from mercury pollution, which is of particular concern for our region’s marine environment. Our presence will help to secure better outcomes for the Indo-Pacific region in responding to this global environmental challenge.

“Mercury is one of the top ten chemicals of concern in the world. Mercury is persistently toxic, circulating in the environment and food chains, and can even be passed by a pregnant mother to her child in the womb. Exposure can harm the immune system, brain, heart, kidneys, and lungs of both people and animals,” Assistant Minister Evans said.

“The Minamata Convention will ensure that mercury and mercury products are managed effectively, traded responsibly, and used only when no feasible alternatives exist. We will continue to engage closely with the Minamata Convention to drive down mercury pollution and protect communities and the environment, both at home and abroad.”