Effects of Mercury on the Environment - Research Paper Example

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The health of human beings is highly endangered by the subjection to mercury. Growing foetuses together with children are at the highest danger. The pollution from mercury also endangers ecosystems and wildlife. The mineral occurs naturally in the crust of the earth. However activities of human beings such as the combustion of fossil fuel and mining, have resulted in an extensive worldwide pollution by mercury (Fitzgerald and Lori 43). Mercury released into the air finally settles into the water bodies or even onto the land where is also washed by the rains or moving waters into the larger water bodies. Immediately it is deposited, some microorganisms together with animals convert it into methylmercury. This substance is very toxic and it is formed in the fish. Most exposure of human beings to mercury result from the eating of fish and shellfish, which are contaminated with the substance all over the world.

Nearly all individuals all over the world at least contain some traces of methylmercury in their bodies. The existence of the substance in nearly everyones tissues shows how pervasive it is in the environment. Some groups of people consume considerably larger amounts of fish as compared to the general population or communities. This may subject or expose them more to the mercury contamination in comparison with others who tale minimal quantities of fish. It is approximated that over 80 000 newborns in America every year have enhanced the risk of learning challenges related to in-utero subjection to the substance methylmercury.

Mercury is one of the most used natural resources in the world. The resources have major significant when it comes to the development of the economy. However, according to different reports, mercury has also significant effects on the environment (Ruling and Charles 123). Some of such claims are still theories since they have not yet been proved. However, some of the claims have facts as it has affected both living and non-living things on the environment. This paper answers the question of whether mercury is good or bad to the environment.

A very significant factor in the environmental impacts of mercury is in its ability to develop in organisms as well as up along the food chains. However, even though all mercury forms can collect to some level, we find that methylmercury is taken up and collects to a greater level as compared to the other forms. On the other hand, inorganic mercury can also be taken up, however, it is essentially absorbed at a lower rate as well as lower efficiency as compared to the methylmercury. Nevertheless, the methylmercurys biomagnification has a considerably vital influence on the effect on human beings and animals. Fist seem to strongly bind methylmercury; that is about one hundred percent which bioaccumulates in the hunter fish in the methylmercury. A bigger percentage of the methylmercury contained in the fish tissue is usually covalently destined to the groups of protein sulfhydryl. As a result, a selective fortification of methylmercury which is relative to the inorganic mercury occurs as there is movement from one trophic level to another that is quite on a higher level.

. It is evident that the Silver particles tend to prevent aquatic animals from getting enough oxygen. From the various environment reports, the government should try to reduce the amount of Silver particles disposed in water bodies. According to Beyond Pesticides by article Kunisch, the use of mercury has impacted the ecological environment. It is evident that the mercury particles tend to prevent those animals from getting enough oxygen. The particles tend to float on the surface of the water which also leads to contamination of the water bodies. In some cases, the aquatic organism may end up feeding on those particles which are considered harmful to their health. The government has enacted strict measures when is some to disposing of Silver products in the water bodies. It is also considered too harmful to the health of people it gets contaminated in the water bodies and people drink such water (Guerra, Denis, Claudio and Viana, 67).

There are also various ways in which mercury particles could end up in water bodies. First is through industries disposing waste mercury products into the water bodies. This is the most common way based on various reports. Another way is when such particles are drained down the water bodies when it rains. As such, it is not advisable to leave such particles on the ground. The use of mercury products has been on the increase in the recent years, especially in the texture and electronics industries. People have a responsibility of ensuring that the water bodies are protected from contamination since it is harmful to their health.

The majority of mercury particles enter the environment through the land application of bio solid from waste water treatment. In one of the experiment, they found out most of the mercury particles is found in the soil. As such, the particles was believed to be disposed of by several industries that use it in the manufacture of their products. Those particles are believed to impact the environment negatively. First, they tend to reduce the fertility of the soil. Once it rains, the particles dissolve into the soil which would increase the acidity of the soil making it unsuitable for the plants to survive. In fact, it is established that places where there are a huge amount of mercury particles, it is difficult for any crops to survive.

Question 2: Efforts by the Canadian Government

The Canadian government is in conjunction with several areas to try and decrease or minimize the use of as well as the emission of mercury into the environment in the country and the world as a whole. In the year 2000, we find that the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment decided to formulate country-wide standards meant at the decrease of the emission of mercury to the environment. These standards are specifically develop for particular products that contain mercury and for the release of mercury from the chosen industries. In addition, the government has assisted in the establishment of the Northern Contaminants Program (Bruzzi and Pamela 82). All these are efforts that are meant to ensure that the country has a healthy and productive population. This is important as it reduces the cost of treatment due to the severe effects of the substance, which at times cost a lot of money to deal with.

Moreover, Health Canada also outlines and enforces the restrictions and limits for the substance in the homeopathic medicines, as well as all the other natural health products. The body also sets forth the standards that are science-based for the mercury in the retail fish as well as providing advisories regarding the consumption of retail fish. On the other hand, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ensures that the health standards that have been set for mercury in the retail fish are strictly adhered to.

Although the government of Canada will do all the necessary within its powers to ensure that the emission of mercury is considerably reduced, other parts of the world should also make sure that they implement the necessary measures to help in managing the problem. A bigger percentage of the mercury that is found in the water bodies such as the lakes and seas and in the soil within Canada originate from other countries. This is the reason why it is necessary to have combined effort to ensure that all countries are safe, because even if Canada tries to clear its side, mercury deposits would still come from other countries or regions. Nonetheless, Canada is assuming an active position in the international and regional efforts in ensuring that there is a significant reduction in the mercury pollution worldwide. The Government of Canada is even working in collaboration with some other countries like the United States and Mexico to deal with the matter of mercury under the umbrella of the North American Regional Action Plan of Mercury (Smith 23).

The country has already significantly decreased its mercury releasing by about ninety percent since the year 1970. The nation has achieved this through rigorous action aimed at curbing the emissions from the industries. An approximated ninety six percent of the mercury pollution that is man-made in Canada each year comes from foreign productions. These emissions move by air, which are then deposited in the water and soil of the country, hence finding its ways into the bodies of the citizens of the nation. The major concern are the levels of the substance that are found in the Canadian Arctic since the area serves as sink for mercury released all through the northern hemisphere. The inhabitants of the northern region are specifically exposed to increased levels of methyl mercury. This type of mercury collects in the sources of food like marine mammals and fish. As a result, the country it trying hard to work in collaboration with the global community via the United Nations for the purposes of negotiating a legally binding provision that enforces action on mercury for the year 2013.

Work Cited

Guerra, Denis L., Claudio Airoldi, and Rubia Ribeiro Viana. "RETRACTED: Performance of modified montmorillonite clay in mercury adsorption process and thermodynamic studies." Inorganic Chemistry Communications 11.1 (2008): 20-23.

Kunisch, S., Boehm, S. A., & Boppel, M. (2011). From grey to silver: Managing the Demograhic change successfully. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Fitzgerald, Amy, and Lori B. Baralt. "Media Constructions of Responsibility for the Production and Mitigation of Environmental Harms: The Case of Mercury-Contaminated Fish 1." Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice 52.4 (2010): 34-68.

Bruzzi, Stella, and Pamela Church Gibson, eds. Fashion Cultures Revisited: Theories, Explorations and Analysis. Routledge, 2013.

Ruling and Charles-Clemens. "Popular concepts and the business management press." Scandinavian Journal of Management 21.2 (2005): 120-195.

Smith, Jeffery A. "Writing Media History Articles: Manuscript Standards and Scholarly Objectives." Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 92.1 (2015): 12-34.

 

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