News “Silent Hazard of Mercury…Minamata Convention” Photo Exhibition Opened

According to unofficial statistics, globally there are around 10-15 million people involved in the artisanal mining sector. The “Silent hazard of mercury…Minamata convention” photo exhibition opened up  at the Fresh Water Resources and Nature Conservation Center with the main objective to prohibit damage to the environment and human health from Minamata disease, specifically mercury poisoning; and to increase public knowledge on the appropriate managing of mercury use.

On making the opening speech, N.Tserenbat, the Minister of Environment and Tourism, emphasized: “50 years ago Japan faced a new type of disease, that caused a disturbance in the world. This was the tragic history of mercury usage, that caused significant damage to the environment and human health. Even though this happened 50 years ago, the damage still exists. Allow me to remind you all about another tragic history of our own. In 2007-2008, because of illegal gold ore processing mill activities and the use of toxic chemicals, the Mongolian government collected 139-410 tons or 92,956 cubic meters of tailings from 130 spots in 21 soums of 6 aimags, removed the top soil from 78,965 square meters of land, neutralized the chemicals and successfully handed the land back to the respective local authorities. With an aim to secure the basic rights of the citizens to live in a healthy and non-toxic environment, and to prohibit the use of mercury which causes dangerous disease and to learn the lessons our ministry has combined its efforts with the “Global Green Association” to showcase this photo exhibition to the public. The main objective of the exhibition is to show the dangers related to use of mercury. On April 30th 2015, the Parliament of Mongolia adopted and started the implementation of the law on “Ratifying the Minamata Convention on Mercury” to mitigate and prohibit mercury use, protect the health and wellbeing of the citizens, and stop pollution of the environment and soil. Mongolia was one of the first Asian countries to join this convention. The implementation of the convention includes counting of mercury and mercury containing products, and development of a national program to prohibit mercury use. We see that the organization of the first exhibition of this kind in Mongolia shows our commitment to the duties of a member country to the convention”

Mercury evaporates in the air and transmits through long distances, and as a result of human factors it is emitted into the environment without decomposing, is capable of forming a biomass, and also causes major hazards to human health and environment. For the first time in 1950 mercury was used in Africa to separate gold, after which there were over 300 thousand tons of mercury used. After the 1960s, when Minamata disease was officially named, countries around the world prohibited the use of mercury by law.  Mongolia joined the Minamata Convention on Mercury use on April 30, 2015. The exhibition will continue from October 3 until December 25, 2018.