India agreed to a global treaty on Saturday to ban use of mercury within the next 7 years, a decision that could change the way you use your medical devices and reduce mercury in air.
Mercury based blood pressure measuring machines, thermometers, tooth fillings and its global trade will have to be banned by 2020, 140 countries agreed in Geneva at the United Nations sponsored conference. Its use religious purposes such as building Shiv Lingams has, however, been allowed.
The treaty brings mercury emissions from coal and cement based industries under a regulatory regime for reduction and allows developing countries for seek money from rich nations to replace existing technologies with better ones. The new power plants will have to install cleaner technologies, says the Minamata Convention on Mercury, named after a Japanese city.
It is doable, said Ravi Aggarwal of NGO Toxic Link. Just last month, the Centre had decided to make its hospitals mercury free. Delhi government had issued similar instructions to its hospitals two years ago.
Mercury is still in high use in India’s rural health sector. Globally, the chemical that can cause immature deaths is use extensively in gold mining in industry in African and Latin America.