Friday, 23 Augst 2019 | 01:56 WIB

Why it is Important for Indonesia to Ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury

Mercury is released to the environment from small gold mining activities (alatberat)

JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - Mercury is a chemical element in the form of heavy metal that are very harmful to health and the environment because it is toxic, bio-accumulative, and can move between countries and regions, according to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry on Wednesday (9/13/2017).

The Minamata Conventionwas born from the Minamata event in Japan in 1950. At that time, hundreds of thousands of people affected by health problems, known as Minamata Disease or Minamata Syndrome, after mercury waste from the fertilizer company Chisso Chemical Corporation contaminated the Minamata Bay.

Therefore, the government through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry considers the importance of ratifying the Minamata Convention on Mercury for Indonesia, through the legal basis of the Ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury which has been approved by the House plenary session on Wednesday (9/13/2017).

The government hopes to gradually erase mercury use in batteries, thermometers and the elimination of mercury use in small-scale gold mining by 2020.

International data in 2010, recorded mercury emissions that are poisonous to humans as much as 37% sourced from small-scale gold mining, 24% sourced from burning fossil fuels, 18% came from metal products, the remaining between 5-9 percent came from industrial processes cement, incineration, and others.

In Indonesia, mercury is mostly used in small-scale gold mining, identified in some 850 areas with high hot spots spread over 197 cities/districts in 32 provinces, with miners in excess of 250,000 miners

In response, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry stated that the ratification of the Minamata Convention was the legal basis for environmental law and policy, while encouraging the industrial sector not to use mercury as industrial raw material, encouraging the health sector to no longer use mercury.

It also provides the basis for the Ministry to strengthen the regulation and control of mercury waste management, thereby reducing the risk of contamination of soil, water and air from mercury, to enhancing global cooperation for information exchange in research and development.

"The substance of the Minamata Convention covers the principal content that includes various arrangements in terms of, among others: mercury supply and trade sources, article 4 (four) of the Law also includes restrictions on the production of imports and exports of mercury-containing products, and much more," said LHK Minister , Siti Nurbaya.

However, a major work for the Ministry of Environment and Forestry is also included in article 12 of this Act, which KLHK needs to identify the location of mercury contamination, while reducing the impact of pollution on land, water and air.

Through this ratification, Indonesia has the right to vote both at regional and international levels. Entry into force of this Convention shall commence 90 days after the approval of the 50th country which concurs to this Convention.