Talks on curbing mercury end in Chiba, to continue until 2013

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Chiba(Japan), Jan 28 (Kyodo) An international meetingaimed at formulating what would be the first global legallybinding treaty for cutting mercury emissions wrapped up inthe city of Chiba, agreeing to continue negotiations until2013 when the adoption of a treaty is planned.

During the five-day meeting from Monday that endedyesterday, around 600 participants including governmentofficials and members of nongovernmental organizations fromabout 130 countries discussed a draft treaty presented lastfall by the UN Environment Program, which would basicallyprohibit the export of mercury and sales of productscontaining it.

Participants in the second session of theIntergovernmental Negotiating Committee on mercury exchangedopinions on ways to dispose of and store mercury, which isused to extract gold in mining in developing nations.

Japan has proposed that the treaty be named afterMinamata mercury-poisoning disease, caused after a chemicalmaker dumped water contaminated with mercury into the sea atits plant in Minamata, Kumamoto Prefecture, in southwesternJapan.

Yesterday, Minamata sufferers took part in one of theevents held on the sidelines of the negotiations and relatedtheir suffering.

But Japan, which exports over 100 tons of mercury everyyear, will have to make changes to its disposal of mercury ifexports are prohibited.

There will be three more sessions of negotiations until2013 and the next round will take place in Africa in theautumn. The first session was held in Stockholm in June 2010.

(Kyodo)

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