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Treaty aimed at reducing mercury emissions signed

February 20. 2013 2:45AM
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(AP) More than 130 nations adopted the first legally binding international treaty aimed at reducing mercury emissions, U.N. officials said.

The U.N. Environment Program said the treaty was adopted Saturday morning, after all-night negotiations that capped a week of talks. A signing ceremony will be held later this year, and then nations must begin formally ratifying it before it comes into force several years from now.

The treaty will for the first time set enforceable limits on emissions of mercury, a highly toxic metal widely used in chemical production and small-scale mining, and to exclude, phase out or restrict some products that contain mercury.

But some supporters of a new mercury treaty said they were not satisfied with the agreement.

Joe DiGangi, a science adviser with advocacy group IPEN, said that while the treaty is a first step, it is not tough enough to achieve its aim of reducing overall emissions.

For example, he said, there is no requirement that each country create a national plan for how it will reduce mercury emissions.

Associated Press

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