Minamata Convention on Mercury

The Republic of Bulgaria signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury on October 10, 2013 during the Diplomatic Conference of the Ministers Plenipotentiary, held in Kumamoto, Japan.

The main objective of the Minamata Convention on Mercury is to ensure the protection of human health and the environment from emissions of anthropogenic origin and the release of mercury and mercury compounds. Mercury is a global problem due to its long-distance transport by air, its sustainable presence in the environment after its introduction through anthropogenic activity, its ability to bioaccumulate in ecosystems and its significant negative impacts on human health and the environment.

The Convention defines provisions governing the entire life cycle of mercury, in cooperation and coordination with existing conventions and agreements for the management of hazardous chemicals and waste. It introduces provisions on restrictions on the primary extraction of mercury and international trade in mercury, the prohibition of the production, import and export of a wide range of products with added mercury, and the prohibition or working conditions of several production processes in which mercury, and calls for the prevention of new uses of mercury in products and industrial processes. In addition, the Convention provides for measures to be taken to reduce mercury emissions from manual and small-scale gold mining and large-scale industrial activities, including through the use of best available techniques. It also requires the temporary storage of mercury and the management of mercury waste to be carried out in an environmentally sound manner.

The Convention ensures a high level of protection of human health and the environment from releases and emissions of mercury and its compounds on a global scale, by reducing and, where possible, eliminating anthropogenic emissions of mercury into air, water and soil and environmentally sound disposal. of wastes containing mercury. Given the lack of adequate control of the risks of the use of mercury and its compounds on a global scale, it is necessary to introduce harmonized measures to prevent and limit exposure of humans and the environment to its impact and coordinated actions to effectively address the problems arising from the use and the global mercury trade.

The Convention will enter into force 90 days after the deposit of instruments of ratification by 50 countries or regional organizations.

The ratification of the Convention by Bulgaria will be not only an act of implementation of the common foreign policy of the EU in this area, but also an additional instrument essential for ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment from the harmful effects of mercury and its compounds. .

In accordance with Article 30 of the Minamata Convention, it shall be subject to ratification, acceptance or approval by States and by regional economic integration organizations.

The competent authority for the implementation of the Convention is the Ministry of Environment and Water, with the exception of the measures related to the protection of human health, which are within the competence of the Minister of Health and the measures under Art. 4 "Mercury-added products" related to the limitation of pesticides, which are the responsibility of the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury will not have a direct and/or indirect impact on the state budget. In the interests of legal clarity, the obligations arising from the Convention that have not yet been transposed into EU law are combined into a new Mercury Regulation - Regulation (EU) 2017/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2017 on mercury, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1102/2008.

The purpose of the new Regulation is to cover the existing regulatory gaps in EU legislation identified in the impact assessment report in the following six areas:

• Restrictions on imports of mercury and mixtures;

• Ban on the export of certain products with added mercury;

• The use of mercury in some production processes;

• New uses of mercury in products and production processes;

• The use of mercury in manual and small-scale gold mining;

• Restrictions on the use of mercury in dental amalgam.