KATHMANDU, Nepal- After two months ban on import, purchase and use of mercury in the local market, the government is preparing to sign an international deal that prevent emissions and releases of the heavy metal.
Concerned over serious public health and environmental impacts of mercury pollution, Nepal is likely to sign the Minamato Convention on Mercury, a legally binding treaty agreed by the world to prevent the use of mercury at its any form.
In the wake of global concerns over toxicity of mercury and its severe impacts on public health and the environment, the Ministry of Health and Population in July this year imposed a blanket ban on the import, purchase and use of mercury-containing equipment in the country. The ban came into effect to facilitate the government’s decision to phase out mercury-containing equipment from this fiscal year 2013-2014.
The UN Minamato Convention on Mercury came into effect from January this year where around 140 countries agreed to ban production, export and import of a range of mercury containing products by 2020 to protect human lives and the environment from mercury pollution.
According to a source at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (MoSTE), it is working to sign the convention during the upcoming meeting of the United Nations scheduled to be held from October 10-11 this year.
Mercury, a heavy metal is found in range of medical equipment such as thermometers, energy saving light bulbs, cement, metal smelters, amalgam dental fillings and even facial creams among others.
According to the World Health Organisation, mercury causes harmful effects to nervous, digestive, respiratory and immune systems, development deficit during pregnancy and childhood, kidney and lung damage along with long exposure leading to tremor, impaired vision and hearing, paralysis, insomnia and emotional instability.