Target: Minister of the Environment Nobuteru Ishiharu
Goal: Commend Japan for signing international treaty that will reduce mercury emissions and phase out products that contain this element
Japan recently became one of the first countries to sign an international treaty that will reduce mercury emissions and phase out products that contain this toxic element. The signing of this treaty is extremely significant given the incident in Minamata due to which residents suffered lethal mercury poisoning.
The Minamata Convention is a legally binding treaty that was agreed upon by other governments in January of 2013 and is now treated as international law. Currently 139 governments have adopted the treaty and 87 governments, including Japan, have signed on. The convention is crucial for preserving the planet’s oceans because it includes ways to control and regulate mercury in various processes and factories. The new law also addresses the export and import of mercury, along with instructions on how to safely handle the material. After years of negotiations and discussions, the world has finally agreed on on a decision.
Regulation over mercury is a serious concern. The planet’s oceans, streams, and rivers are still poisoned with mercury and evidence of this can be seen in our marine life. In Africa, where both adults and children work the gold mines, they are exposed to the toxic effects of mercury. Metal is used to find gold, and the process involves burning mercury. Often this process can take place in the home, where even the fumes are harmful. Mercury acts upon the human nervous system, impairing the thyroid, liver and vision. It can cause irritation and tremors and in most severe causes, one can experience insanity, paralysis, lapse into a coma, or die within weeks of being exposed to the metal.
The convention will hence ban these products by the year 2020: batteries, except for button cell batteries used in medical devices, switches and relays, some compact fluorescent lamps, soaps and cosmetics that are used as skin lighteners, thermometers, and blood pressure devices. The Minamata Convention will not only benefit the human race, but the marine life of our oceans as well. Sign this petition and commend Japan for signing on.
Dear Nobuteru Ishiharu,
I am writing to thank you for signing the Minamata Convention. Your inclusion in this treaty will help protect and preserve our oceans from the harmful effects of mercury. Unfortunately, effects of mercury poisoning and pollution are still rampant today, as most of our fish and other marine wildlife still contain traces of the metal. We need all governments and countries to agree to this international law as it will provide a standard when handling mercury.
Again, thank you for signing the convention and I hope that you will do everything in your power to ensure that other countries will sign on as well. All humans need to protect their environment.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bionerd via Wikimedia