UNEP Releases Update of Global Mercury Assessment

10 January 2013: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has released an update of its global assessment of mercury, ahead of the final session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC 5) to complete negotiations on a global treaty to control mercury use.

"The Global Mercury Assessment 2013: Sources, Emissions, Releases and Environmental Transport" was released at a press conference by UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner on 10 January 2013, in Nairobi, Kenya.

The study covers emissions by region and economic sector, as well as releases into the environment related to contaminated sites and deforestation. The 2013 assessment also examines, for the first time, global level releases into rivers and lakes, finding that an estimated 260 metric tons have been released from soils into these bodies of water.

While on a global basis emissions have remained relatively stable, the study finds they have increased significantly in Africa, Asia and South America, primarily through coal-burning power plants and artesanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM). Coal-burning power plants and ASGM are estimated to account for around 24% and 35% of global annual mercury emissions, respectively. The report finds that Asia accounts for just under half of all global releases. [UNEP Press Release] [Publication: Global Mercury Assessment 2013]