Uganda restricts supply, trade of mercury

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Cabinet sat on Monday December 17, 2018 at State House Entebbe and approved the Traffic and Road Safety (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

The following are the Objectives of the Bill: to strengthen the management of road transport and road safety in Uganda; to enhance and strengthen the Traffic and road safety regulatory and enforcement regimes; to improve the provision and management of road transport services.

Others are; to harmonise the Traffic and Road Safety law with the International, Regional and National laws and Protocols; to improve the management and regulation of road transport services and road safety; and to provide for the continuous technology innovations including ICT innovation in the transport services sector in the country.

Cabinet also approved the provisions of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, and authorised the Minister of Foreign Affairs to sign, seal and deposit the instrument of Ratification in accordance with Section 3 of the Ratification of Treaties Act, Cap.204.

The Convention is largely meant to control the supply and trade in mercury, including setting limitations on specific sources of mercury such as primary mining, and control use and production of mercury-added products and manufacturing processes.

Mercury is a chemical element with symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is commonly known as quicksilver and was formerly named hydrargyrum.

Mercury is used in thermometers, barometers, manometers, sphygmomanometers, float valves, mercury switches, mercury relays, fluorescent lamps and other devices, though concerns about the element’s toxicity have led to mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers being largely phased out in clinical environments in favor of alternatives such as alcohol- or galinstan-filled glass thermometers and thermistor- or infrared-based electronic instruments.

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