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Mercury Storage and Disposal Project in Two Selected Countries in South America - 2011-2012

The government of Norway supported country efforts to demonstrate the use of existing hazardous waste facilities as temporary storage facilities for mercury (commodity or waste) by doing a survey of such facilities and of relevant country legislation. The Mercury Two Countries Storage Project is currently being implemented in Argentina and Uruguay.

An inception workshop took place in Montevideo, Uruguay in June 2011 concept note and agenda

Uruguay and Argentina presented their respective national mercury related activities and legislation. 

Tools were developed by UNEP to carry out a survey of temporary storage facilities in the countries and to review the current regulatory frameworks. These tools are currently used by Argentina and Uruguay to investigate facilities and options for mercury temporary storage.

The following technical presentations provided useful information for the project:

Meeting proceedings

The project has successfully been implemented. In April 2012, a project results workshop was carried out on which a draft report is now available.

Final project report Storing and Disposing Excess Mercury in South America - Advancing National Initiatives in Argentina and Uruguay

Among others, the report concluded that during the project, Argentina and Uruguay:

  1. identified potential sites for the temporary storage of mercury
  2. drafted a preliminary National Action Plan for the environmentally sound management of elemental mercury and mercury waste
  3. gained more profound knowledge on the regulatory instruments that are still missing and that are necessary to attain environmentally sound management

As next steps, the report recommends for both countries to proceed with the refinement of the National Action Plans, with the further elaboration of the legislative framework, and with the selection of storage facilities.