Minamata Convention

Why in News?

The Union cabinet approved a proposal for ratification of the Minamata Convention, a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from adverse effects of mercury.



About the Convention

In October 2013, at a conference in Kumamoto (Japan), the convention was formally adopted. The Convention is named after the Japanese city Minamata. This naming is of symbolic importance as the city went through a devastating incident of mercury poisoning.

The major highlights of the convention include –

-a ban on new mercury mines

-the phase-out of existing ones

-the phase-out and phase-down of mercury use in a number of products and processes.

– It also addresses interim storage of mercury and its disposal once it becomes waste, and sites contaminated by mercury as well as health issues.

The first Conference of the Parties (CoP) under the Minamata Convention took place in Geneva, Switzerland last year but India had not ratified it till then.

The approval entails ratification of the Minamata Convention on mercury along with flexibility for continued use of mercury-based products and processes involving mercury compound up to 2025.


Mercury is considered by experts to be one of the most toxic metals known. Once released into the environment, mercury bio-accumulates and biomagnifies in the food chain, and easily enters the human body and impacts the nervous system. The treaty aims at protecting human health and the environment from its adverse effects.


The Minamata Convention on Mercury will be implemented in the context of sustainable development with the objective to protect human health and environment from the anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.