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Mercury in waste, containing the free element and its compounds, and mercury containing-products continue to harm the environment of Bangladesh many years after they have been disposed of. Bangladesh has no specific guidelines regarding the management of mercury waste, or how to safely manage the uses of either products or equipment that contain mercury or mercury compounds.
The evaluation of mercury emission, therefore, is required to assess new, potential and existing sources, of the mercury emission as a result of the use of mercury and mercury-containing products. The calculations of mercury emission and release into the environment made in this report are based on surveys, guidelines, methods and other sources.
The international demand for the control of mercury emissions arose following the UNEP’s Governing Council’s 22nd session in February 2003. After considering the key findings of the Global Mercury Assessment Report, the governing Council decided that there was sufficient evidence of significant global adverse impacts from mercury to warrant further international action to reduce the risks to humans and wildlife from the release of mercury into to the environment. The Governing Council decided that national, regional and global actions should be initiated as soon as possible and urged all countries toadopt goals and take actions, as appropriate, to identify populations at risk and to reduce human-generated releases of mercury.
This commitment to addressing the global adverse impacts of mercury pollution was reinforced by 27 Governments and regional economic integration organizations at the 23rd session of the Governing Council in February 2005. The Governing Council also requested UNEP, in cooperation and consultation with other relevant organizations, to facilitate and conduct technical assistance and capacity building activities to support the efforts of all countries to take action on mercury pollution.
In response to the Governing Council’s request, UNEP has established a mercury program within UNEP Chemicals (UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics), with the immediate objective to encourage all countries to adopt goals and take actions, as appropriate, for the identification of mercury-exposed populations, for the minimization of mercury exposure through outreach efforts and for the reduction of anthropogenic mercury releases.
Environment and Social Development Organization-ESDO has also undertaken the project titled “Reduction of demand of mercury in mercury containing products in Bangladesh” in collaboration with UNEP to raise awareness and document mercury use and mercury added products in Bangladesh. This initiative also aims to support Bangladesh government towards ratification of Minamata convention.
Inventories of releases of priority hazardous substances constitute an important decision making tool in the process of mitigating environmental impacts from the pollutants in queson. Such inventories are often vital in the communication with stakeholders like industry, trade, manufacturers and the public.
The information on mercury pollution contained in this report can be used to determine which sources of mercury should be addressed in Bangladesh for release reduction initiatives. Moreover, baseline inventories and related information can be used to set effective approaches and to draw further attention of the concerned government officials and stakeholders to take appropriate actions and measures.