06.03.2017 | Mercury and the problems of its disposal
With the increase in the scale of production in XX century has become a problem of creating disposal and storage of waste, in particular mercury, which is hazardous toxicant. Recently mercury has been used for industrial purposes very widely. At the same time, there was lack of proper ideas about the correct handling of waste, so the environment was exposed to pollution nearly uncontrollably and rapidly.
For Canada, the effects appeared in 1970 in the sad-known incident «Ontario Minamata disease», when the number of organic mercury compounds in local reservoirs reached almost 10 tons. The two communities: Grassy Narrows and Whitedog First Nations, living in the north-western Ontario, and Sarnia First Nation in southwestern Ontario have suffered from Minamata disease by consuming contaminated by mercury water and seafood.
The government has urged residents of First Nations fisheries and stop the consumption of contaminated food, which ultimately led to the decline of fishing, unemployment and popular unrest among the local population.
Analysis of mercury in humans elicited high levels of heavy metal, but there was not such a stir, as in Minamata, Japan, in 1956, when was recorded a large number of deaths during a mercury polluted waters of the Minamata Bay.
Since the 1970s, people make efforts to inform the public about the dangers of mercury and other heavy metals. The international community is united in the fight against the spread of hazardous waste. An important milestone was the adoption of 22 March 1989 the Basel Convention, asserting responsibility for damage resulting from transboundary transfer of hazardous wastes. The natural development of this initiative was the adoption of 10 October 2013 Minamata Convention on Mercury, which takes into account the "essential lessons of Minamata disease, in particular, serious mercury pollution effects on human health and the environment" and calls "to ensure the proper regulation of mercury and prevent a recurrence like in the future." Convention suggests a set of measures aimed, in particular, to exclude mercury from the process, the transition to environmentally friendly methods of storage and disposal of mercury and mercury-containing wastes, as well as on the identification and neutralization of contaminated sites. To date, the problem of recycling, storage and processing of mercury and mercury-containing waste is still topical in the world. People Organize annual conferences to discuss with the global scientific community about the problem of mercury pollution.
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