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First Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group on Mercury

12 - 16 November 2007 | Bangkok, Thailand.

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A bird's eye view of the plenary room
View from the United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok, Thailand, with the Baiyoke Tower, Thailand's tallest bulding.
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Web coverage:

Monday, 12 Nov | Tuesday, 13 Nov | Wednesday, 14 Nov | Thursday, 15 Nov | Friday, 16 Nov

Highlights for Wednesday, 14 November 2007

The First Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) to Review and Assess Measures to Address the Global Issue of Mercury convened for its third day on Wednesday, 14 November at the United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok, Thailand.

During the morning plenary delegates addressed the issue of mercury waste extensively. There was broad agreement on the seriousness of this issue and the need for international cooperation to deal with such waste. Many developing countries stressed that they have dumpsites as opposed to managed landfills and that mercury-containing waste is currently being dumped in these sites. Chair Roberts reminded delegates that mercury in its elemental form cannot be destroyed and therefore the issue of long-term storage is closely related to its waste management. In addressing the issue of long-term storage of mercury-containing waste many developing countries explained that storage options do not exist in their countries and suggested exporting it to countries with appropriate facilities.   

During the late morning and early afternoon, delegates turned their attention to potential response measures to the issue of sites contaminated by mercury. Delegates agreed there are many mercury-contaminated sites, and suggested monitoring potentially contaminated sites as an additional response measure.

During the afternoon plenary delegates discussed the issue of mercury demand in products and available response measures. In the late afternoon, they considered the need to increase knowledge on areas such as inventories, human and environmental exposure, environmental monitoring and socioeconomic process. Delegates agreed to continue this discussion on Thursday morning in plenary.

Fassan Redfern, Kiribati, highlighted the issue of old school chemicals, including mercury salts. Gillian Guthrie, Jamaica, supported the Basel Convention’s continuing work in managing the trans-boundary movement of hazardous waste. Karissa Kouner, USA, highlighted the link between mercury waste and storage.
Farran Redfern, Kiribati, highlighted the issue of 'old' school laboratory chemicals, including mercury salts. Gillian Guthrie, Jamaica, supported the Basel Convention’s continuing work in managing the trans-boundary movement of hazardous wastes. Karissa Kouner, USA, highlighted the link between mercury waste and storage.

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The Chinese deleagation and ENB writer Kunbao Xia Local conference officers
The Chinese delegation and ENB writer Kunbao Xia. Local conference officers.

Jindrich Petrlik, ARNIKA, stressed a legally-binding instrument on mercury was necessary. Carlos Alva Huapaya, Peru, stressed the importance of firstly raising awareness among the general public about the perils of mercury waste. Donata Rugarabamu, Basel Convention Secretariat, noted that its technical guidelines on mercury were in development and invited input.
Jindrich Petrlik, ARNIKA, stressed a legally-binding instrument on mercury was necessary. Carlos Alva Huapaya, Peru, stressed the importance of firstly raising awareness among the general public about the perils of mercury waste. Donata Rugarabamu, Basel Convention Secretariat, noted that its technical guidelines on mercury were in development and invited input.

The UN Conference Center in Bangkok.
The UN Conference Center in Bangkok.

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Delegates and ENB writers during the lunch break. Delegates and ENB writers during the lunch break.
Delegates and ENB writer Melanie Ashton during the lunch break.

Margarida Cardoso da Silva, Portugal, on behalf of the European Community France Jacovella, Canada Adel El Shafei, Egypt
Margarida Cardoso da Silva, Portugal, on behalf of the European Union, stressed the need for developing mercury-free gold mining technologies. France Jacovella, Canada, noted that in assessing the Rotterdam Convention to address mercury demand, the objectives of the Rotterdam Convention should be considered. Adel El Shafei, Egypt, called for the restriction consumption of mercury in packing.

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FYI: the ENB photographer uses mercury-free batteries for his flash.


Web coverage:

Monday, 12 Nov | Tuesday, 13 Nov | Wednesday, 14 Nov | Thursday, 15 Nov | Friday, 16 Nov

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