More than 140 countries have agreed on a set of legally binding measures to curb mercury pollution, at UN talks.
Delegates in Geneva approved measures to control the use of the highly toxic metal in order to reduce the amount of mercury released into the environment. Mercury can be released into the environment through a number of industrial processes including mining, metal and cement production and the burning of fossil fuels.
The inhalation of mercury vapor can produce harmful effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, lungs and kidneys, and may be fatal. The inorganic salts of mercury are corrosive to the skin, eyes and gastrointestinal tract, and may induce kidney toxicity if ingested.
The convention will regulate a range of areas, including: The supply of and trade in mercury, the use of mercury in products and industrial processes, the measures to be taken to reduce emissions from artisanal and small-scale gold mining,and the measures to be taken to reduce emissions from power plants and metals production facilities.
Everyone in the world stands to benefit… in particular the workers and families of small-scale gold miners, the peoples of the Arctic and this generation of mothers and babies and the generations to come.
by Mark Kinver, Environment reporter, BBC News