Ukraine to give up using mercury
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Ukraine’s parliament has adopted a bill effectively banning the use of mercury, a toxic metal that is still used in some industries, the ministry of environmental protection said in a statement.

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When signed into law by the president, the bill will pave the way for Ukraine’s accession to the Minamata convention on mercury, which provides for a phase-out of its use.

The convention prohibits the extraction of mercury and bans the manufacture, export, and import of mercury products, including thermometers and pressure measuring devices, certain types of batteries and fluorescent lamps, barometers, switches, relays, and cosmetics.

Ukraine's accession to the Minamata convention will help prevent situations like with the Radical plant in Kyiv, when hundreds of tonnes of mercury were dumped in the open air, ecology minister Ruslan Strilets was quoted as saying.

"Today we are establishing internationally recognised rules for handling this rare poisonous metal," he added.

As a party to the Minamata convention, Ukraine will have access to the targeted resources of the Global Environment Facility and be able to receive assistance from international partners in getting rid of mercury residues.

The Minamata convention on mercury, acceded to by 141 countries, was adopted in 2013 and entered into force in 2017.

It is named after the Japanese city of Minamata, where nearly 2,000 people were poisoned by mercury from industrial wastewater in the late 1950s.

The poisoning caused Minamata disease, a syndrome of impaired vision and hearing, and in severe cases, paralysis and impaired consciousness caused by poisoning with organic mercury compounds.