Avoiding Stranded Lighting Assets: Getting Ready for the Minamata Convention on Mercury

Mina-what?!

This isn’t a random word. It’s critically important and will impact on every council in Australia. 

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic (originating from human activity) emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. Australia signed the Minamata Convention in October 2013 and is now considering ratifying the Convention to become a full party to it. The Convention requires all parties to address mercury throughout its lifecycle, including its production, its intentional use in products and processes, its unintentional release from industrial activity, though to end-of-life aspects including waste, contaminated sites, and long-term storage.

Even if Australia doesn't ratify Minamata, the rest of the world is moving on and phasing out the use of mercury and mercury compounds. This means that replacements for those old inefficient mercury vapour lights will become increasingly difficult to source by 2020 (which is about a year away...!) meaning councils may end up with very expensive stranded assets on their hands.

Many organisations have strategies for dealing with the impacts of Minamata. As do governments and many of the distribution networks. Does your council?

Check out the simple and sweet 2-minute snapsho below from Australia's foremost street lighting expert, Paul Brown and contact us if you want to discuss further.