Sri Lanka signed the global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. Dr. Palitha Kohona, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, signed the Minamata convention on Mercury on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka on 8th October 2014 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The Minamata Convention is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. It was concluded at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Geneva, Switzerland. One hundred and twenty five countries have signed this agreement, while six countries have so far ratified it.
The Convention is named after Minamata city in Japan, where a massive mercury spill in 1956 caused people and fish and those who consumed the fish to become seriously ill. In all, 900 people died and 2,265 people are still suffering from mercury poisoning.
The Minamata disease is a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning. Not only does Minamata create numbness in the body, it also creates damage to hearing and speech as well as narrowing of the field of vision.