On the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the adoption of the Minamata Convention: Find the artist that created your unique tumbler

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Conference of Plenipotentiaries (DipCon) on the Minamata Convention on Mercury was held on 10 and 11 October 2013 in Kumamoto, Japan, with a ceremonial opening held in Minamata on 9 October 2013. At the ceremonial opening, the Government of Japan welcomed delegates to Minamata and recalled the events which led to the recognition of the dangers of mercury poisoning. A storyteller, whose life had been affected by the Minamata Disease, presented the lifelong effects for many of the people of Minamata Bay.

For the occasion, the hosts had thought of a special gift for all delegates. To reduce the consumption of PET bottles and paper cups, they prepared 1000 tumblers that can be used for hot and cold drinks for the DipCon delegates. Children in Kumamoto City (2 primary schools and a high school) and Minamata City (7 primary schools) drew pictures which were inserted in the tumblers. The children were asked to draw pictures on attractive scenes around Minamata (e.g. sceneries, wildlife and local specialties) or activities (e.g. waste segregation, cleaning campaigns and so on) to showcase the city as an ‘Environmental Model City’. Five years on, the youngest artists, who were 4th grade pupils then and are now 9th grade students, will soon graduate.

On 1st July 2017, Minamata City commemorated the entry into force of the Minamata Convention on Mercury with an event co-hostedby the Ministry of the Environment, Japan, Kumamoto Prefectural Government, Minamata Municipal Government and the United Nations Environment Programme. DipCon participant Ms. Claudia ten Have was invited to the event together with Ms. Yukina Arita, the schoolgirl who drew the picture for her tumbler. Ms. ten Have expressed her thanks for the opportunity to meet Ms. Arita, saying that she was impressed at how a small gift could leave such a meaningful memory. She also said that while for many Japanese the name ‘Minamata’ may be linked with heartache, she recognized the word “Minamata” now as having a positive meaning, representing the people of Minamata who have faced the problem so courageously and the convention that was established. She also expressed her determination to work with them to make mercury history.

To commemorate the fifth anniversary, we would like to call on all DipCon participants to take part in a Tumbler Search to match the artist and the owner of the tumbler.

To take part in the tumbler search, DipCon participants are invited to follow the following instructions to possibly know more about the artist.

  1. Please take out the drawing from your tumbler and make a photocopy of it or take a close-up photo. This will allow us to identify the artist, since the drawing contains key information (name, age and school) about the artist.

  2. We invite you to write a short message for the artist. Your message could include “your name, your country, whether you are using the tumbler, and your impression about the drawing”.

  3. Please send your message and the photo/photocopy to the following email address: suigin@env.go.jp


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