Students of UoP to detect mercury pollution in air

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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.