Senegal becomes 25th to ratify Minamata Convention on Mercury

MercurySenegal has become the 25th country to ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury, bringing the Convention half way through its journey to commencement of implementation.

The country ratified the Convention on March 15, the last day of the 7th session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Mercury, at Amman, the capital of Jordan, near the Dead Sea.

According to the UN, the meeting which convened over 550 government representatives, stakeholders and experts was to put final touches to the international convention.

The Minamata Convention, named after the Japanese city where thousands were poisoned by mercury-tainted industrial water, was signed in 2013 to guide and control products and industries that use mercury, in order to protect human health and the environment.

Mercury and its various compounds have a wide range of serious impacts on human health, including brain and neurological damage especially among the young, and damage to the digestive system and kidneys, memory loss, language impairment, and other documented problems.

Absorption of mercury which increases concentration higher up the food chain, can can occur from a variety of means including eating fish and other sea food exposed to mercury, plants and livestock or even breathing contaminated air.

The Convention presently has 128 signatories including Ghana, and 25 ratifications, and can only go into effect ninety days after 50 countries have ratified it.

By Emmanuel Odonkor

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