Study of Mercury Levels at Chlor-Alkali & Light Products Manufacturing Industrial Sites in Pakistan
Duration: March 2013 to 2014
Locale: Lahore and Peshawar
Team Members: Dr. Mahmood A. Khwaja
A persistent pollutant, mercury is not limited to its source but it travels on time thousands of kilometers away from the source. Mercury is a toxic substance of global concern. It poses risks to environment and human health, especially the health of children. The safe level of mercury in air is 300 ng/m3. The study measured and accessed the management, disposable and handling of mercury and mercury wastes at the select industrial sites.
- Assessment of mercury contamination in and around the select industrial sites
- Development of baseline data for future research work
- Dissemination and discussion of collected data and recommendations for mercury pollution control with all stakeholders, including policy makers/government officials for appropriate policy intervention
- Publication, information dissemination, awareness raising regarding health impact of mercury in the light of data/findings of the study
- Survey and field monitoring at select industries in the Punjab and Khyber Pukhtunkhwa
- Information dissemination, awareness-raising
- Research based publications and policy intervention
- The lighting industry in Pakistan is dominated by imported products and there are only a very few manufacturers still operating in the country. Two of the manufacturing units in Peshawar were visited for this study. There is only one mercury based chlor-alkali plant in operation in Punjab province. The survey and monitoring data has shown higher level of mercury levels in air than the USEPA (RfC) limits at most of the visited sites.
- The study indicates the high level of mercury contamination at the examined industrial sites and strongly recommends to follow the best preventive approach ”Waste Reduction at Source” and use of “Best in-house Environmental Practices (BEPs).
- Moreover, it also strongly recommends ratification of the already signed Minamata Convention on Mercury (2013) by the Government of Pakistan at the earliest.
- Mercury specific legislation for industry, including national emissions/releases standards, minimum mercury levels in products, including lighting products be introduced.