Major cities in Japan begin to collect mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers

With the approaching entry into force of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the Japanese Ministry of the Environment has started a model project in 15 major cities to collect the mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers stored at home.

The Ministry of Environment is calling for cooperation with this project saying that finding and collecting products containing mercury stored away in homes will be an important key to the success of this and future projects.

Thermometers and sphygmomanometers that use mercury are the target of this project. These products are being collected in special collection boxes placed at pharmacies until end of February, 2016.

The following 15 cities are carrying out this project: Hiroshima, Niigata, Sapporo, Hakodate, Maizuru, Akita, Kofu, Miyazaki, Gifu, Shizuoka, Kurume, Tsu, Higashimurayama, and two unannounced cities.

The mercury a thermometer contains is about 1.2g, and a sphygmomanometer has about 48g. More than 430 thermometers, containing roughly 5.2kg of mercury, were collected in Asahikawa in February 2015 as a result of a collection test.

The model project being conducted in 15 cities has the goal of studying information transmission methods for collecting mercury products stored at home, and hopes to estimate the amount of mercury to be discarded in the future.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury was adopted at an international conference that was held in Kumamoto Prefecture in October 2013. To fulfill its moral responsibility as the host country, Japan has to present a model system for a mercury-free society to the world.