The response of anthropogenic mercury release in China to the Minamata Convention on Mercury: A hypothetical expectation

Habuer, Takeshi Fujiwara, Masaki Takaoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The combination of anthropogenic activities and long-term atmospheric transport has resulted in a sustained increase in global mercury concentrations in air, in water and on land. The Minamata Convention on Mercury (MCM), is a global treaty with the goal of protecting human health and the environment from anthropogenic releases of mercury. This study aimed to quantify the mercury inputs and outputs in China in 2016–2019 according to five source categories and investigate the effect of an accelerated scenario/technology transformation required by the MCM on the subsequent distribution of mercury among environmental and intermediate reservoirs. Mercury releases to natural environment decreased dramatically after the MCM, such that around 840 t of mercury was released to those reservoirs in 2019, which is less than 21% of that in 2016 (1,063 t) when an accelerated scenario/technology transformation (STranf) was taken into consideration. Applying the accelerated STranf can hardly change the total release amount to the natural environment, also can reduce 53 t and 58 t of atmospheric emission in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Atmospheric emission was most sensitive to STranf, followed by emissions to land and water. This is the first attempt to provide a systematic evaluation of the effectiveness of the MCM based on the hypothetical expectations. As the MCM moves into the implementation phase, further information from scientific data and studies is critically needed to support decision-making and management. The results of this study can provide such information, facilitating the creation of strategic management policies for mercury as the MCM is implemented in China.

Original languageEnglish
Article number129089
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - Nov 10 2021


  • Anthropogenic release
  • China
  • Distribution flow
  • Mercury
  • Minamata convention on mercury
  • Substance flow analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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