The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources is developing a road map that will address the use of mercury in the country as per the Minamata convention. The Minamata Convention on mercury is a global treaty aimed at protecting human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury.
The convention rooted for ban on new mercury mines, the phase-out of existing ones and reduction or ban on use of mercury in a number of products and processes. It also aimed at controlling emissions to air and on releases to land and water, and the regulation of the informal sector of artisanal and small-scale gold mining
The Principal Secretary in the State Department of Environment Mr Charles Sunkuli said sectors that are at risk of utilising mercury include environment, health, mining and industrialisation, enterprise development, water, energy and agriculture.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Environment Secretary in the Ministry Dr Alice Kaudia, during the inception workshop for the Mercury Initial Actions project workshop at the intercontinental hotel, Nairobi, the PS said: “The government will ensure best available technologies and best environmental practices to minimise mercury to the lowest levels are applied.”
The Minamata Convention was agreed at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on mercury in Geneva, Switzerland and adopted later that year on 10 October 2013 at a Diplomatic Conference (Conference of Plenipotentiaries), held in Kumamoto, Japan.
The Convention draws attention to a global and ubiquitous metal that has broad use in everyday objects and is released to the atmosphere, soil and water from a variety of sources. Controlling the anthropogenic releases of mercury throughout its lifecycle has been a key factor in shaping the obligations under the Convention.