The United Nations announced January 19, 2013, that more than 130 nations had agreed to a treaty that will attempt to limit worldwide mercury pollution. The first-ever mercury treaty aims to limit industrial mercury waste, as well as production and trade of items that include mercury. A signing ceremony is set for October 2013.
Mercury in industrial and mining waste water often finds its way into fish, which in turn can poison people who eat them. The agreement is named for the city of Minamata, Japan, which suffered a major mercury poisoning incident in the 1950s.
The U.N. has long wanted such an agreement. It got no traction on the issue, however, until 2009 when U.S. President Barack Obama reversed the earlier Bush Administration's stance opposing such a treaty. For more, read here.