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The Frontier Post

Published Date: Mar 24, 2013

Students of UoP to detect mercury pollution in air

Institute
of Chemical Sciences (ICS) Peshawar University has launched a project to measure
Mercury pollution in the air.

The
joint research project, started in collaboration with Islamabad based,
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) intend to measure mercury
pollution and raise public awareness on negative effects of toxic mercury on
environment and human health.

The
project also provide an opportunity for students of ICS to use latest
specialized equipment such as Lumex Mercury Analyzer along with other
instruments and collect data of geographical parameters such as temperature, humidity,
wind direction/speed as well as coordinates of the location.

During
the study, monitoring teams will assess mercury levels in dental hospitals,
industries, labs and dental clinics across Peshawar city. Recently, similar
monitoring was carried out in Lahore where very high concentration of mercury
content in air was observed within dental hospitals and clinics.

After
Peshawar, the studies will be carried out in Rawalpindi & Islamabad. The
results and findings of this national survey will later be shared and discussed
with all stakeholders including government for necessary immediate action.

Mercury
is a hazardous substance which is in use since long and poses serious risks to
environment and human health. Recently, 140 countries signed an agreement in
Geneva to reduce mercury use and control its emission and releases by end of
2020.
Mercury metal and its compounds are widely used in dental technology as well as
in industries contributing in its release in air. Mercury sources are quite
diverse, ranging from thermometers, electric bulbs and switches to power
plants, coal fired power stations, metal smelters, gold mining and cement
industry.