Chemical and Hazardous Waste

Minamata Convention on Mercury

Mercury is a chemical of global concern due to its long-range atmospheric transport, persistence, ability to bioaccumulate in ecosystems and negative effects on human health and the environment.

Joining the global effort to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds, Singapore ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury on 22 September 2017.

As a Party to the Convention, our key obligations are as follows:

  • Ensure that the export of mercury is only to countries that have provided written consent to the export and for a use/purpose allowed under the Convention;
  • Ensure that mercury imported is not from sources that are not allowed under the Convention;
  • Reduce or phase out specific manufacturing processes listed under Annex B of the Convention in which mercury or mercury compounds are used;
  • Phase out the manufacture, import and export of specific mercury-added products that are listed under Annex A of the Convention;
  • Control emissions of mercury or mercury compounds to the atmosphere; and
  • Control releases of mercury or mercury compounds to land and water.

The text of the Convention including the Annexes of the Convention can be viewed at the official website of the Minamata Convention.

Singapore has developed an inventory of mercury emissions from relevant sources as per guidance under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) “Toolkit for identification and quantification of mercury releases” (UNEP Toolkit).

In Singapore, there are no domestic production and processing activities that use mercury. Controls are in place banning the import of several consumer products containing mercury, such as batteries containing more than 0.0005% by weight of mercury and mercury thermometers. Mercury could potentially be released to the environment from the incineration of waste (from other products containing mercury) and combustion of fossil fuels. However, the concentration of mercury impurities present in our waste and imported fossil fuels is very low because of the stringent regulatory control of mercury.

In addition, pollution control equipment is required at incineration plants and industries so that air emissions comply with the Environmental Protection & Management (Air Impurities) Regulations, which includes limits on mercury emissions. As for wastewater treatment, treated wastewater discharged to the watercourse complies with the discharge standards stipulated in the Environmental Protection and Management (Trade Effluent) Regulations, which also includes mercury limits.

A copy of the 2021 mercury inventory report can be downloaded here.