9 July 2019: Japan’s Ministry of the Environment and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) have announced a new USD 3 million project to protect the environment and human health from the adverse impacts of mercury.

The project will help establish a regional mercury monitoring laboratory network in Asia and the Pacific to enhance science-based policymaking towards reducing mercury pollution, and provide capacity building and training for countries in the region. A UNEP press release notes that approximately half of global mercury consumption and emissions occur in the Asia-Pacific region.

The project, which aims to bring all relevant stakeholders on board, will support the creation of a scientific database with information that governments and institutions can apply to effective mercury management.

Japan has first-hand experience with the devastating impacts of mercury when an illness caused by mercury poisoning was first discovered in the city of Minamata, for which the which the Minamata Convention on Mercury was named. [UNEP Press Release]