Global Mercury Reduction Agreement Reached

After four years of negotiations the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) reached a major agreement in January 2013 to reduce global mercury emissions. Data from AANDC's Northern Contaminants Program (NCP) played a major role in shaping Canada's negotiation position, particularly with respect to emissions in the atmosphere - Canada's main priority.

Data from the Yukon will continue to play a role with this legally-binding agreement. Yukon's air monitoring station at Little Fox Lake has been collecting data on mercury (Hg) for over 25 years; it is one of only four such sites in Canada. Yukon's NCP has also been collecting data on mercury in fish since 1992; it has data from 36 lakes and two rivers. The Yukon NCP is now monitoring snow and rain samples from Little Fox Lake to provide baselines for the protocols on mercury as part of the United Nations agreement.

The United Nations agreement on mercury will result in improved health to Arctic peoples and wildlife over the long-term. It will provide greater certainty in the safety of northern country foods.

A signing ceremony, that will include Canada, is planned for October 2013 in Minamata, Japan.

The Yukon continues to look at the historical changes in mercury in Kusawa Lake and the influence of climate change on these levels.

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