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UNEP Global Mercury Partnership: Chlor-alkali sector

The UNEP Global Mercury Partnership aims to protect human health and the global environment from the release of mercury and its compounds by minimizing and, where feasible, ultimately eliminating global, anthropogenic mercury releases to air, water and land. The Partnership works closely with stakeholders to assist in the implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

This is achieved across eight partnership areas, that reflect the major sources of mercury release. One such area is the chlor-alkali sector. The World Chlorine Council is an active participant in the Minamata Convention and in supporting the work of the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership.

The following information is provided by the World Chlorine Council as a contribution to the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership.

You can read more about the reduction of global mercury emissions and use in the chlor-alkali industry in our leaflet on
UNEP Global Mercury Programme – The Chlor-Alkali Sector Partnership (PDF)

Global Mercury Partnership

Mercury and the Chlor-alkali Industry

Mercury cell technology is one of the oldest methods of chlor-alkali production. The mercury used in this process acts as the cathode in the chlorine production process. This video, produced by Euro Chlor (the European chlor-alkali federation), shows how the chlor-alkali industry handles mercury in a responsible way. However, as chlor-alkali production is a user of mercury, it is a potential source of mercury release into the environment. In light of this, the chlor-alkali producers are actively engaged in the application of best practices when handling mercury during normal operation and conversion to other processes.

Worldwide, chlor-alkali producers exchange information regarding best practices on proper handling, plant operations, mercury unit decommissioning and waste management to minimize the release of mercury. They are also committed to annually reporting the global inventory of mercury, as well as any mercury consumption and emission figures to the relevant authorities and are active participants in the Minamata Convention.

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UNEP Global Mercury Partnership/ Chlor-alkali

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is the global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. It was agreed at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Geneva, Switzerland on 19 January 2013.

The Convention draws attention to a toxic metal that, whilst naturally occurring, has broad uses in everyday objects and is released to the atmosphere, soil and water from a variety of sources. Controlling the anthropogenic releases of mercury throughout its lifecycle has been a key factor in shaping any obligations under the convention.

The international chlor-alkali community actively participates in providing information and support for this process.

Data are compiled by the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership (an international meeting of governments, industry, NGOs and academia who are dedicated to protecting human health and the environment from the impacts of mercury and to reducing global environmental releases of mercury) and are published in annual reports.

The Partnership also supports mercury cell production facilities that close or convert to mercury-free technologies by providing information on the environmentally sound management of mercury surplus and waste.

Such support is further provided in a variety of technical documents that have been produced in conjunction with the global chlor-alkali industry.

 

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Supporting documents

The documents on this site detail the current estimates for mercury in the chlor-alkali sector as well as practical guidance for mercury management. Also below are informational documents for non-expert, technical audiences on the standard for mercury cell plants as well as the process and considerations for improvements. Such documents may also be useful for general audiences and government regulators. Please feel free to browse and use these documents by clicking on the tiles below.

Mercury handling in Normal Operations

Mercury handling in Normal Operations

Decommissioning of phased out units

Decommissioning of phased out units

Storage and disposal of mercury

Storage and disposal of mercury

Reporting on mercury use

Reporting on mercury use

Phase out options and progress

Phase out options and progress

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