全球合作遏制汞排放 2009開啟會談 | 台灣環境資訊協會-環境資訊中心

全球合作遏制汞排放 2009開啟會談

2009年02月25日
摘譯自2009年2月20日ENS肯亞,奈洛比報導;游珮綺編譯;蔡麗伶審校

 金礦工人工作中不免接觸在汞暴露的環境中 圖片提供:Government of Ghana來自超過140個國家的環境官員們20日一致同意,將著手制訂世界第一個控制汞排放量的協定。汞是一種有毒的重金屬,會對人類健康以及我們的環境造成嚴重威脅,因此各國也同意即使在協定完成之前,其將自願性地立即限制本國的汞排放量。

2009年於聯合國環境規劃署(UN Environment Programme,UNEP)年度治理理事會及全球環境部長論壇閉幕時,各國政府一致決定必須開始針對制訂國際性的汞協定進行協商,並據此處理全世界的汞排放問題,因為這種神經毒素的排放將對成千上萬人的健康造成威脅。

聯合國環境規劃署執行長史坦納(Achim Steiner)表示:「在幾個禮拜之前,各國仍然對於如何處理這個重大公共健康威脅的議題意見分歧,即使這將影響到世界上每一個國家的每個人;但是今天,我們已經團結一致,我們需要制訂具有法律拘束力的規範,並且採取立即行動將世界引導向低汞排放量的世界前進。」

2月16日在治理理事會會議開幕時促成各國政府能夠團結一致的重要指標為,歐巴馬政府延續了前政府對於限制汞汙染的相關政策,美國國務院(U.S. Department of State)下屬的『海洋與國際環境暨科學事務局(Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs)』環境政策辦公事主任范朵契(Daniel Fantozzi)帶領美國代表團針對開啟新的全球汞協定談判協商表示贊成。

此外,與會的各國環境官員也都同意,即使在正式協定完成之前,各國將在自願性全球汞夥伴關係(Global Mercury Partnership)的共識之下採取快速行動,因為他們見到了暴露在汞汙染當中對人類健康與環境會造成極大的威脅。

在自願性的夥伴關係之下,各國政府將減少初級重金屬採礦中的汞供應量,並且增加其安全地儲存汞資源的能力。

他們也同意將著手進行各項計畫,減少開採金礦工人使用汞的數量,因為採礦估計約有1000萬名的礦工以及他們的家人將因此而暴露於汞環境當中。

在一般情況下,碎石和泥漿會和液態水銀一起攪拌,使其與黃金顆粒能夠混合黏結在一起,然後再對汞合金的混合物進行加熱而提煉出黃金。在這個過程中,水銀會蒸發,礦工也因此吸入有毒物質,其甚至會到處擴散進入水中並且往上進入食物鏈,如果殘留在魚類當中,當人們食用魚類時就會造成健康問題。

Governments Unanimous on 2009 Start to Mercury Treaty Talks
NAIROBI, Kenya, February 20, 2009 (ENS)

Environment officials from more than 140 countries today agreed to craft the world's first treaty to control emissions of mercury, a toxic heavy metal that poses serious risks to human health and the environment. They agreed to voluntarily limit mercury at once, even before a treaty is finalized.

At the close of the UN Environment Programme's annual Governing Council and Global Ministerial Environment Forum, governments unanimously decided to begin negotiations on an international mercury treaty to deal with worldwide emissions and discharges of the neurotoxin that threatens the health of hundreds of millions of people.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, "Only a few weeks ago nations remained divided on how to deal with this major public health threat which touches everyone in every country of the world. Today we are united on the need for a legally binding instrument and immediate action towards a transition to a low-mercury world."

An indicator of that unity came on Monday during the Governing Council's opening session when the Obama administration reversed the former U.S. position on limiting mercury pollution. Led by Daniel Fantozzi, director of the Office of Environmental Policy, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State, the delegation endorsed negotiations for the new global mercury treaty.

The environment officials attending the meeting agreed to take accelerated action under a voluntary Global Mercury Partnership even before the treaty is finalized because they view mercury exposure as a great risk to human health and the environment.

Under the voluntary partnership, governments will reducing the supply of mercury from primary mining of the heavy metal and increase their capacity to safely store stockpiled mercury.

They agreed to undertake projects that will reduce the use of mercury in artisanal gold mining where an estimated 10 million miners and their families are exposed.

Typically, gravel and mud are combined with liquid mercury, which binds to gold particles in the mix. Then the mercury-gold amalgam is heated to extract the gold. The mercury is vaporized and inhaled by the miners, and it travels far and wide to settle on bodies of water where it moves up the food chain into fish, causing health problems when the fish are eaten.