Singapore supports UN agreement to reduce mercury exposure

Singapore supports UN agreement to reduce mercury exposure
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan in a bilateral meeting with his counterpart, Japan’s Minister of Environment Nobuteru Ishihara, on the sidelines of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries (Diplomatic Conference) on the Minamata Convention on Mercury in Kumamoto, Japan on Oct 11, 2013.

SINGAPORE - Singapore will support a new United Nations agreement to reduce mercury pollution and poisoning, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan said on Friday.

Get the full story from The Straits Times.

Here is the full speech by Dr Balakrishnan:

Minamata was a disaster that should not have happened, and it is a stark reminder of three ingredients.

First, we need to ensure that all companies conduct their businesses responsibly.

Second, governments always have to be vigilant and transparent, and work with the non-government organisations and the media to ensure this eternal vigilance.

Third, that there is effective international collaboration. It is in this spirit that the Minamata Convention has been formulated and signed by so many of us.

Singapore is a dense city state with no natural hinterland, and we have one of the most compact living conditions anywhere on this globe. Because of that, our people are exquisitely sensitive to any environmental threat.

Therefore, Singapore has always had to take a comprehensive approach in the way we manage hazardous substances from the point of import to the point of use, and ultimately to the point of disposal. Because of this, we have had multiple controls to restrict the use of mercury in Singapore.

For instance, batteries and clinical thermometers (containing mercury) are no longer allowed for import into Singapore. Our industries in Singapore do not use mercury.

Having said that, we are a major transhipment hub, and therefore, we will commit to ensuring that all mercury which flows through our ports will strictly comply with this Convention.

Moving forward, let me restate Singapore's intention to support this Convention in the same way and in the same spirit that we have been party to the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions. These are symbols of our commitment to effective environmental protection and human health, both within Singapore and as a responsible citizen of the world. Thank you.

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