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  5. FY2017 Reports on Storage of Mercury, etc. and Management of Mercury-Containing Recyclable Resources based on the Mercury Pollution Prevention Act

FY2017 Reports on Storage of Mercury, etc. and Management of Mercury-Containing Recyclable Resources based on the Mercury Pollution Prevention Act

December 25, 2018

As the Minamata Convention on Mercury (hereinafter referred to as the "Minamata Convention") entered into force on August 16, 2017, the Act on Preventing Environmental Pollution of Mercury (hereinafter referred to as the "Mercury Pollution Prevention Act") was also enforced on the same day.

The Mercury Pollution Prevention Act requires persons who store mercury or mercury compounds (hereinafter referred to as "mercury, etc.(i)") or persons who manage mercury-containing recyclable resources to take appropriate measures to prevent environmental pollution by mercury, etc. with the aim of properly implementing the Minamata Convention, which inclusively regulates the entire lifecycle of mercury.

Persons who store mercury, etc. or manage mercury-containing recyclable resources at an amount exceeding a certain level are also required to periodically report the status of the storage or management to the competent ministers.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of the Environment jointly generated and publicized Reports on the Storage of Mercury, etc. and the Management of Mercury-Containing Recyclable Resources for FY2017,* the first report after the enforcement of the Mercury Pollution Prevention Act.

* From August 16, 2017, to March 31, 2018

1. Background

Mercury, etc. is emitted from various sources into the environment and circulates the earth in perpetuity. It can accumulate in organisms throughout the food chain. Therefore, in order to promote countermeasures against mercury pollution on a global scale, the Minamata Convention was adopted in 2013 at a Diplomatic Conference held in Japan.


The Minamata Convention inclusively regulates the entire lifecycle of mercury consisting of mining, trading, use, emission, release, disposal and other processes. For properly and smoothly implementing this convention, Japan has been taking various measures comprehensively and systematically based on the newly enacted Mercury Pollution Prevention Act and other laws.

The Mercury Pollution Prevention Act requires persons who store mercury, etc. to take appropriate measures to prevent scattering and leakage of mercury, and to regularly make reports on the status of the storage to the competent ministers, in light of the Technical Guidelines on Measures to be Taken to Prevent Environmental Pollution due to Storage of Mercury, etc. (Public Notice of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Ministry of the Environment, and Ministry of Defense No. 1 of 2015)," in order to prevent environmental pollution due to stored mercury, etc.

The Act also requires persons who manage mercury-containing recyclable resources(ii) to take appropriate measures to prevent scattering and leakage of mercury-containing recyclable resources and to regularly make reports on the status of the management to the competent ministers, in light of the Technical Guidelines on Measures to be Taken to Prevent Environmental Pollution due to Management of Mercury-Containing Recyclable Resources (Public Notice of the Cabinet Office, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Ministry of the Environment, and Ministry of Defense No. 1 of 2015)."

2. Outline of the Reporting System

(1) Report on the storage of mercury, etc.

When the maximum amount of mercury, etc. by type stored at each place of business during a fiscal year exceeds 30 kg, a report on the status of the storage (iii) must be submitted by each place of business to the competent minister by the end of June of the following fiscal year, pursuant to Article 22 of the Mercury Pollution Prevention Act.

(2) Report on the management of mercury-containing recyclable resources

When mercury-containing recyclable resources are stored or otherwise managed during a fiscal year (including the cases of outsourcing the management), a report on the status of the management (iv) must be submitted by each place of business to the competent minister by the end of June of the following fiscal year, pursuant to Article 24 of the Mercury Pollution Prevention Act.


3. Outlines of the Results of Reports for FY2017 (See the Appendix for details.)

The outlines of the results based on the FY2017 reports, the first reports compiled after the enforcement of the Mercury Pollution Prevention Act, are as follows. The covered period is from the enforcement date of the Act (August 16, 2017) to March 31, 2018.

(1) Storage of mercury, etc.

Reports on the storage of mercury, etc. were made by 81 places of business nationwide. The amount of mercury, etc. stored as of the end of the fiscal year was reported to be 46,844.8 kg. By type, 80 reports were on mercury and two were on mercury sulfide. One place of business reported that it stores both mercury and mercury sulfide. There was no report on the storage of other types of mercury, etc. (mercury (I) chloride, mercury (II) oxide, mercury (II) sulphate, mercury (II) nitrate and mercury (II) nitrate hydrate). Measures taken for storing mercury, etc. in an environmentally sound manner were also confirmed.

(2) Management of mercury-containing recyclable resources

Reports on the management of mercury-containing recyclable resources were made by 333 places of business nationwide. Reported recyclable resources were four types, i.e., non-ferrous metal sludge, dental amalgam, mercury used for analyses and silver oxide batteries.

The numbers of cases reported by type and the amounts of the respective types of resources managed as of the end of the fiscal year were as follows: Non-ferrous metal sludge: 8 cases, 242,727 kg (wet weight); Dental amalgam: 299 cases, 63.8 kg (wet weight) and 612.9 kg (dry weight)(v); Mercury used for analyses: 17 cases, 212.3 kg (wet weight) and 22 kg (dry weight); and Silver oxide batteries: 11 cases, 5,175 kg (wet weight). (Some places of business manage multiple types of mercury-containing recyclable resources, and therefore, the total number of places of business that made a report and the total number of cases reported do not coincide.) Measures taken for managing mercury-containing recyclable resources in an environmentally sound manner were also confirmed.

Footnotes

(i) Mercury,  mercury (I) chloride, mercury (II) oxide, mercury (II) sulphate, mercury (II) nitrate and mercury (II) nitrate hydrate, mercury sulphide, and mixtures of these whose concentrations exceed 95%, and cinnabar

(ii) Mercury, etc. or objects containing these substances, which satisfy certain requirements on mercury concentrations and were disposed of or are intended to be disposed of through disposal operations set forth in Annex IV B to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (excluding waste prescribed in Article 2, paragraph (1) of the Waste Management Act, radioactive materials, and objects polluted by radioactive materials) and are useful

(iii) The amount of mercury, etc. stored at the beginning of the fiscal year (for the initial year after the enforcement, as of the enforcement date), the amount manufactured, the amount accepted, the amount used, the amount delivered, the amount that turned to be waste, the amount stored at the end of the fiscal year, the purpose of the storage, etc.

(iv) The amount of mercury-containing recyclable resources managed at the beginning of the fiscal year (for the initial year after the enforcement, as of the enforcement date), the amount generated, the amount received, the amount transferred, the amount for which disposal operations were performed, the amount that turned to be waste, the amount managed at the end of the fiscal year, the purpose of the management, etc.

(v) For dental amalgam, part of the reported weight contained the weight of containers.

Appendix

Division in Charge

Chemical Management Policy Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau