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19.09.2018 11:34
New EEA Report: Mercury pollution remains a problem in Europe
The EEA report ‘Mercury in Europe’s environment – A priority for European and global action’ describes the problem of mercury pollution and the challenges in addressing the issue globally, stated the press release.
AUTHOR: publics.bg


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According to a new report published today, historical and current emissions of mercury continue to present a significant risk to the environment and human health. According to the report by the European Environment Agency, the main source of new mercury emissions in Europe is coal burning but about half of the mercury deposited in Europe’s environment originates from outside Europe.

According to the report, mercury presents the biggest risk in rivers, lakes and oceans where it takes a highly toxic form that is absorbed by animals, including fish. The most recent monitoring data for water bodies shows that nearly 46 000 surface water bodies in the EU, out of approximately 111 000, are not meeting mercury levels set to protect fish-eating birds and mammals.

Humans become exposed to mercury mainly when they eat large predator fish, such as tuna or monkfish, that have been eating smaller fish with mercury in their bodies. Mercury presents a particular and significant risk to the neurological development of foetuses, newborn babies and children.

Current emissions of mercury in Europe are mostly limited to combustion of solid fuels, including coal, lignite and wood, the report says. However, globally mercury emissions are much higher, due to emissions from additional sources such as small-scale gold mining and industrial processes.

One of the main problems with mercury is its persistency, the report explains. Once it is released into the environment, for example through coal burning, mercury can circulate through air, land, water and animals for thousands of years. The current levels of mercury in the atmosphere are up to 500 % above natural levels. In the oceans, the concentrations of mercury are about 200 % above natural levels.

The report can be read here: https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/mercury-in-europe-s-environment
 


TAGS: EEA | environment | mercury | pollution | coal | fuel | poisoning 


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