Mercury waste is one of the emerging and urgent waste streams. Article 11 of the Minamata Convention on Mercury provides obligation relating to mercury wastes, and this article is recognized as the last barrier to prevent anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.
Mercury is still contained in various products, including fluorescent lamps, batteries, pesticides, non-electronic measuring devices, etc. All these products finally become wastes. Because mercury cannot be decomposed and it remains in the environment for ever, mercury waste should be treated in an environmentally sound management (ESM) pursuant to the Minamata Convention.
UNEP IETC has been implementing the mercury waste project funded by Government of Japan since 2015. The project is composed of five components: 1) A regional workshop on ESM of mercury waste in Asia; 2) Regional study on ESM of mercury waste in the Member States of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); 3) Global Mercury Waste Assessment; 4) Online training module of mercury waste management; and 5) Pilot demonstration of mercury waste management.
The project focuses on assessment of mercury situation and identification of challenges to develop ESM of mercury wastes, development of mercury inventory and material flow of mercury wastes and development on ESM of mercury wastes appropriate for each country’s situation on waste management.