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A United Nations agreement to phase out the use of mercury has been adopted in a Japanese town made famous for mercury pollution. A UN CONFERENCE ADOPTED a treaty on mercury control on Thursday near the site of Japan's worst industrial poisoning, as Tokyo pledged $2 billion to help poorer nations combat pollution. Delegates from some 140 countries and territories were set to formally sign the world's first legally binding treaty on the highly toxic metal, late in the day, officials said.
Minamata is a byword in Japan for sluggish official responses and the development-at-all costs that characterised the decades of booming growth after World War II. A doctor who was seeing patients whose immune systems were hit or who had developed brains or nervous system problems first flagged the issue in the mid 1950s and industrial pollution was suggested as a possible cause shortly thereafter. In a video message sent to the opening ceremony Wednesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged $2 billion to help developing nations address environmental pollution between 2014 and 2016. But the comments provoked ire in Minamata, where many are still suffering the effects of decades of toxic dumping. But environmental groups say it stops short of addressing the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining, which directly threatens the health of miners including child labourers in developing countries. They also warn of health risks from eating the mercury-polluted meat of whales and dolphins, which occasionally feature in the diet of some coastal communities in Japan and elsewhere.


Because of their position near the top of the food chain, dolphins and whales frequently consume a large quantity of mercury from their prey. The treaty will take effect once ratified by 50 countries — something the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) expects will take three to four years. A UNEP report issued last year said the spiralling use of chemicals, especially in developing countries, is damaging people's health and the environment.
Many developing countries lack safeguards for handling chemicals safely or disposing of them properly, according to the report, entitled "Global Chemicals Outlook".
I guess it is just fortunate that we replaced the old style of harmless light bulbs with energy efficient ones that in real life have a shorter life span, are vastly more expensive, consume more energy in their production, and most importantly contain mercury.Clearly a saner mind than mine thought these mercury containing CFL bulbs were a brilliant idea.
The technique is used to determine the age of organic artefacts in fields like archaeology, geology, and ecology. Using data from WRI’s CAIT Climate Data Explorer, this dynamic graph below allows you to explore emissions data for 2012.
Three runners attempt to run 160km through remote wilderness to raise money for climate change.
This site is where you will find ABC stories, interviews and videos on the subject of Environment.


A project enlisting citizen scientists to identify wildlife is helping conservation, and reconnecting people with nature. We are still on the way to overcoming Minamata disease," sufferer Masami Ogata, 55, told the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper. Who doesn't want tonnes of mercury in your local landfill after all.It is a great step to see the use of mercury being phased out. Old incandescent bulbs use vastly more energy and are responsible for far more toxic pollution from coal fired power plants than either CFLs or much better LEDs. As you browse through the site, the links you follow will take you to stories as they appeared in their original context, whether from ABC News, a TV program or a radio interview.
If people aren't stupid they'll properly use and dispose of CFLs as directed, no mercury poisoning required, within their limited design parameters, unlike energy-wasting, money-wasting, toxic pollution-generating incandescent bulbs.



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