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18 Countries Jointly Promote Atmospheric Mercury Monitoring at the 11th APMMN Annual Meeting

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On 2 Nov. 2022, the Eleventh annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Mercury Monitoring Network (APMMN) was jointly hosted by the EPA Deputy Minister Chih-Hsiu Shen and the USEPA Acting Assistant Administrator Jane Nishida. Attendees were made up of over 50 government officials and scholars from 26 institutes in 18 partner countries, such as the US, Japan, Australia, and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). During the event, Environment and Climate Change Canada presented the worlds latest equipment that passively samples atmospheric mercury. The Center for Environmental Monitoring and Technology of National Central University reported on the APMMNs current implementation, while experts from the US National Atmospheric Deposition Program explained calculation of national mercury deposition as well as the status of atmospheric mercury monitoring in partner countries.

To protect human health and the environment from the anthropogenic emission of mercury and its compounds, the UNs Minamata Convention on Mercury entered into force in 2017. Considering that atmospheric mercury monitoring is one of the essential tasks of the Minamata Convention, the Taiwan EPA and the USEPA jointly launched the APMMN in 2012 to respond to the Minamata Convention. The efforts to assist partner countries in the Indo-Pacific region to build capacities related to atmospheric mercury monitoring began in 2016, and so far the APMMN has analyzed 1,220 samples of rainwater. Results show that the mercury concentration in rainwater in the APMMNs Indo-Pacific partner countries has gradually dropped in the past three years, which is evidence of the partner countries implementation of the convention.

As environmental monitoring is a long-term and significant mission, Deputy Minister Shen particularly praised and thanked all the partner countries for their outstanding contributions toward long-term atmospheric mercury monitoring over the past 11 years. In August this year, the Center of Oceans and Atmosphere of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia became an official partner. It completed the first sample on 28 Oct., an important step toward enhancing the southern hemispheres capacity in atmospheric mercury monitoring. Through the APMMN, the Taiwan EPA hopes to improve regional atmospheric mercury monitoring with the USEPA and the Indo-Pacific partners and together carry out the Convention, building a sustainable world for future generations.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, November 2022

Ministry of Environment