Issue Date: February 19, 2007
UN Backs Voluntary Efforts On Mercury
Voluntary efforts around the world to curb releases of mercury will be expanded over the next two years, governments decided on Feb. 9 at a U.N. meeting. The U.S., backed by Canada, Japan, Australia, China, and India, forestalled an effort by the European Union to launch negotiations on a new international treaty to control mercury. At the meeting of the UN Environment Program's Governing Council, country representatives agreed to promote voluntary partnerships among governments, industry, and other groups to curb releases of the metal from power stations and gold mining as well as from industrial and consumer products. The council urged nations to use recycled mercury instead of mining it and called for countries to compile information on options for the long-term storage of the metal. Governments will reconsider the need for a mercury treaty in 2009.
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