The global volume of soil, water and air with mercury due to human activities in 2010 amounted to about 2 thousand tons, with pessimistic estimates increase this figure almost doubled, according to a report released Thursday by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
According to experts, the anthropogenic emissions of mercury in the last 20 years of relatively stable, but because of great uncertainty, and lack of data to assess their annual volume range from 1 thousand to 4.1 thousand tons.
The two main sources of mercury pollution are "artisanal" gold mining, where mercury is used to separate the metal from the rocks, and the burning of coal — these factors accounted for 35% and 24% of its total volume. Among other sources of experts UNEP, isolated, in particular, e-waste, the production of plastics, in particular PVC and dentistry, where 340 tons of mercury used annually for the production of seals and other products, up to 100 tons can enter the sewage .
Almost half of the total global mercury released to the environment, we have to place in Asia, where a toxic metal, in particular, is widely used in traditional practices of gold mining. According to scientists, since 2005 the assessment of the amount of mercury pollution from this source have doubled — and in part due to the improved quality of information on the scale "artisanal" gold mining.
As noted by UNEP, for the first time, a new report from scientists could estimate the global magnitude of mercury contamination for fresh water — in their data, every year from contaminated soil into rivers and lakes gets about 260 tons of mercury. In addition, over the last 100 years due to human activities of the mercury in the upper layers of the oceans, to a depth of 100 meters, more than doubled, and at greater depths — up to 25%.
Another specific threat, according to the report, is the accumulated mercury pollution in the Arctic, which annually gets about 200 tons of metal.
The official launch is being held at the regular session of negotiations on a new global "mercury" agreement, which will be held 13-18 January in Geneva.
UNEP Governing Council in 2009 agreed to develop until the end of 2013 a global legally binding instrument on mercury. The need to document due to a desire of the international community to protect human health from the adverse effects of mercury. The purpose of the agreement is to reduce the use of mercury in the industry, as well as the elimination of the accumulated mercury contamination.
The coming session in Switzerland should be the last — on its results will finalize the new document, which will be opened for signature at a special diplomatic conference in Japan in 2013. As previously stated RIA Novosti the head of the Russian delegation at the talks on the preparation of the document, the director of the Department of International Cooperation Ministry of Natural Resources Nuritdin Inam, countries hope, despite the very high level of complexity of negotiations in time to coordinate it on time.