Mercury and its effect

(Amna Bakhtiar, Islamabad)

Mercury is naturally occurring element found in air, water and soil which enters the environment due to both natural processes as well as anthropogenic activities. The element is found in different organic and inorganic forms: Inorganic mercury compounds are used in manufacturing processes more extensively in batteries while the organic mercury compounds are used as fungicides and pharmaceutical agents as well as in cosmetics. The heavy silvery-white metal can be intake through contaminated drinking water and exposure to mercury through medical treatment. Major exposure to mercury is through intake of food.

In Pakistan, mercury is being released into environment through extensive use of mercury compounds as well as through the use of certain material with traces of mercury. It affects lungs, kidney, brain and skin severely. The symptoms of mercury include poisoning fatigue, depression and headache. Mercury is mainly excreted through urine and faeces. The element in Pakistan enters streams through industrial effluents and combined with soil. Water exposed to mercury cause change in its parameters like TDS, PH and hardness making water unfit for use combination of mercury with soil cause decrease in plant growth due to heavy metal accumulation. Textile and glass industries are found to be major mercury effluents also solid waste disposable sites in all areas of provinces of Pakistan. The sources contributing to higher mercury concentration in municipal solid waste is due to the waste batteries cell, fluorescent lamps used these days due to energy crises. In fact, the diversity of sources and their place in our daily lives makes the issue one of grave concern. It is therefore vital that the government and health and environmental experts coordinate on a sustained basis with industry leaders to reduce and, where other alternatives are available, phase out the use of mercury.

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03 Dec, 2017 Views: 460


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