Shunichi Honda
Shunichi Honda
Topic: Mercury Waste Management
Mr. Shunichi Honda is a Programme Officer at UNEP IETC joined in May 2015. His expertise is waste and chemical management including environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and heavy me...
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Number of questions: [1]
Posted on 22/05/2015 07:18:36
Dear Dr. Shunichi,
Congratulations for your new post and for the role that you played when drafting article 11 of Minamata Convention and when drafting the Mercury-based technical guidelines with respect to the Basel Convention. However, is there a need to develop an independent legal regime to manage Mercury rather than relying on the above-mentioned conventions?
Francis Bagambilana (from Tanzania (United Republic of))
Dear Francis

Thank you for your question.
Your point is important to consider how we practically implement necessary activities to comply with the provisions on mercury wastes under the Minamata Convention as well as the Basel Convention.

As a legal-binding instrument at international level, the conventions stipulate various provisions to meet objectives for which Parties to the conventions shall work.
As an example, Article 1 of the Minamata Convention is the objective of the convention; the objective of the Minamata Convention is to protect the human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.
The following articles stipulates how Parties to the convention shall work for the objective.

In terms of mercury waste management, the Article 11 stipulates that mercury wastes should manage in an environmentally sound manner, taking into account the guidelines developed under the Basel Convention. The guidelines as a non-legal binding document provide a lot of technical information and expertise on the environmentally sound management of mercury wastes based on various available technical information and good practices.

However, I guess many people have a same question, “what and how should we do for the convention at practical level?”: I think this is the same point as your question.

I recognise that each country needs to develop own guidance to manage mercury wastes based on their legal framework and practices on waste management based on the conventions and the technical guidelines. Usually, waste management situation is different among countries which are or will be Parties to the conventions: they develop own system based on their background including economy, society, culture, history, and so on.

At national level, yes, each country needs to develop own legal system to manage, for example, mercury wastes in an environmentally sound way pursuant to the Minamata Convention, and by referring the guidelines.

Best regards,

Shunichi Honda