The Minamata Convention on Mercury is the first new global Convention on environment and health adopted for close to a decade. It is named after a place in Japan, where thousands of people were poisoned by mercury-tainted industrial wastewater in the mid-20th century, leading to crippling symptoms that became known as the Minamata disease. 

 With the adoption of the Minamata Convention, over 100 Governments from around the world, Antigua and Barbuda included, have taken a major step to confront the world-wide emissions and releases of mercury which threaten the environment and the health of millions. 

Decades after the Minamata disaster (disease) – the world’s first large scale incident of mercury poisoning – and the stoppage of industrial dumping, thousands of survivors in Japan are still suffering from a host of neurological symptoms, including tremors, dizziness, headaches, memory loss, and vision and hearing problems; the most severe cases also involve developmental disabilities, cognitive and motor dysfunction, and physical abnormalities. 

Minamata forced the global community to take heed of the devastating effects of Mercury and Mercury Poisoning.  It eventually resulted in the MINAMATA CONVENTION ON MERCURY and the pledge and commitment of the world’s governments to reduce and phase out mercury emissions and mercuryadded products.