Mercury Pollution In India | Possible solutions

mercury pollution

WHAT IS MERCURY POLLUTION

As we know that mercury is a very harmful and Toxic substance that contaminated the air, water, land, and most importantly the food chain all over the nation. It naturally occurs from the earth’s crust but the activities of humans like mining lead to a widespread mercury production throughout the globe.

Effects of Mercury on The Environment

If it is emitted in the air, eventually it is settled down into the water or onto land, where certain microorganism converts it into methylmercury i.e. a highly toxic form which builds up in the fish and then it transfers to the humans or any animal who consume that fish. As we know that the mercury is very harmful and Toxic substance which contaminated the air, water, land and most importantly the food chain all over the nation

  • mercury released in the air can travel thousands of miles in the atmosphere before it eventually deposits back to the earth due to rainfall

Crossing The Permissible Limit of Mercury

mercury pollution in india 

Dr. Srivastava, co-chairperson of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) the Chemicals Working Group said that the mercury contamination in India is reaching to an alarming level because of the mercury bearing industrial effluents which ranges from 0.058-0.268 (Mg/L) which is far more than the prescribed by WHO [0.001 (Mg/L) is the permissible limit of mercury in drinking water in India, and 0.01 (Mg/L) for industrial effluents

Chlor alkali sector is known for the biggest mercury consumer in India which is located in the eastern Indian river basin, had released about 80 tones of toxins in the atmosphere during the year 1999-2000. According to Dr. R.C. Shrivastava, India released 60 to 320 times more mercury than its permissible limit in the rivers.

Effects of Mercury on Our Health

Minamata disease:

It was the poisoning disease that affects mainly the central nervous system of our body, which is seen in Minamata Bay and its surroundings which caused due to consuming fish and shellfish in large quantities by their locals. The major causative agent was some sort of ‘organic mercury compound’. Mercury is poisonous weather it is – inorganic, organic, or elemental.

Methyl mercury is a neurotoxicant: it can damage the developing brain as it crosses the placental and blood-brain barriers easily, It is also a threat to unborn. There are so many mercury pollution diseases like depression and suicidal tendencies, paralysis, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s disease, speech and vision impairment, allergies, hypothermia, and impotence.

Even a small increase in methyl mercury may adversely affect the cardiovascular system, says UNEP’s Global Mercury Assessment report. It is also a possible carcinogen for humans, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. mercury pollution also affects wildlife and ecosystem

The Global Source of Mercury (2018)

 Source Amount(per Kg)
 Artisanal and Small Scale Mining 837,658
 Stationary Combustion of Coal 473,777
 Nonferrous Metals Production 326,657
 Cement Production 233,168
 Waste from Products 146,938
 Vinyl Chlorine Monomer 58,268
 Biomass Burning 51,860
 Ferrous Metals Production 39,903
 Chlor-alkali Production(India) 15,146

Mercury Pollution In The Ocean Solutions

Awareness programs for the general public on adverse effects of mercury

  1. Restrict the release and sale of Indian herbal medicine containing mercury for human consumption without toxicological data/profile.
  2. Stringent legislation to reduce industrial mercury emission to safeguard humans and the environment.
  3. To establish a task force to coordinate and implement the mercury action plan on the long-range transboundary air pollution and to resolve some of the uncertainties involving various mercury issues.
  4. Steps to reduce the international demand and supply of mercury and its derivatives.
  5. Development of low cost and safe technology to absorb and release of mercury from industrial effluents.
  6. Regular monitoring of mercury levels in drinking water resources.
  7. To collect information on the environmental burden of mercury with time.
  8. Identification of vulnerable human populations who may be at risk of mercury poisoning based on their blood and hair values (Increasing risk: 20 – 100 ppb in blood, 6 – 30 ppm in hair. At-risk > 100 ppb in blood and > 30 ppm in hair) as reported by Canadian studies.
  9. Establish regional poison information/control centers in the country to provide round the clock information on the signs, symptoms, and the antidote for mercury poisoning.
  10. Nutritional supplementation of Vitamin ‘E’, selenium and omega 3 fatty acids, and Garlic (a source of selenium, a common item in India, used in the preparation of fish in India) in the amelioration of mercury toxicity.
  11. Use of 2.3 – dimercaptopropane-1-sulfonate (DMPS) and meso-2,3- dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) is becoming the most commonly used metal chelator as antidotes for mercury

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