26 October 2006 13:59 [Source: ICIS news]
BRUSSELS (ICIS new)--The European Commission unveiled proposed regulations on Thursday to meet its pledge to ban mercury exports by 2011.
Under the proposed regulation, mercury that is no longer used in the chlor-alkali industry, or that is produced in certain other industrial operations, would be put into safe storage once the export prohibition takes effect in July 2011.
"This proposal underlines the Commission's determination to protect people and the environment from exposure to this highly toxic metal.
“In banning exports of mercury and requiring its safe storage, the EU will be setting an example for global action to reduce emissions. I urge other countries to support moves towards a worldwide agreement," said EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas in a statement.
Dimas on Wednesday told ICIS news the EU would help third world nations tackle their own mercury problem, ahead of an international summit on the issue.
The EU's mercury export is mainly surplus mercury from the EU chlor-alkali sector, which is phasing out the use of mercury, and is mostly provided through Mayasa in ?xml:namespace>
According to the EC, Mayasa, the Spanish government and the European chlor-alkali industry have agreed to the ban from the date proposed.
Cefic, the European chemical industry organisation, has also given a voluntary commitment to ensure safe storage of mercury from the chlor-alkali industry from 1 July 2011, the Commission noted.
The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the Council of environmental ministers for approval.
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