Mercury

The Secretariat collaborated with the Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for Training and Technology Transfer for Latin America and Caribbean Region in Uruguay to implement a project aimed at enhancing capacity to minimize and manage mercury waste in and environmentally sound manner.

As part of the project, Argentina and Uruguay developed national inventories of mercury-containing waste in the chlor-alkali and mining sectors (Argentina) and in both the industrial and health sectors (Uruguay). These countries also received assistance to develop national management plans for the environmentally sound management (ESM) of mercury wastes. The experience gained under the project in developing national plans has been compiled in a training manual for the preparation of ESM plans for mercury waste aimed at policy makers and governmental officers that which includes recommendations on low cost options for the storage of mercury waste from the chlor-alkali industry.

In August 2011, the Centre organized awareness-raising workshops in Argentina and Uruguay to involve national public and private sector actors in the development of national plans for the ESM of mercury waste. The meeting provided the opportunity to present the national plans for the ESM and minimization of mercury wastes developed in Argentina and Uruguay.

Activities in Costa Rica are still ongoing and are scheduled to be completed in 2012. Costa Rica is developing a national inventory of mercury-containing waste in the health sector and also received assistance to develop national management plans for the ESM of mercury wastes. Under the project, an in-situ mercury waste storage facility will be purchases in Costa Rica as a low-cost interim solution to the disposal of mercury-containing wastes from hospitals. The project was funded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Governments of Norway and Spain through the Basel Convention Technical Cooperation Trust Fund. It is being implemented by the Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for Training and Technology Transfer for Latin America and the Caribbean Region (BCCC-Uruguay), in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment of Uruguay (DINAMA) and the Basel Convention Regional Centre for South America, in Argentina. 

For more information, please contact
Gabriela Medina gabriela.medina@dinama.gub.uy at BCCC-Uruguay and
Francesca Cenni, Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Basel Convention, tel: +41 22 917 8364, email: francesca.cenni@unep.org.