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Make mercury history

Mercury, to the Romans, was the messenger of the gods. Today’s mercury is more prosaic: a planet, and also a metal, known sometimes as quicksilver. It was widely used in thermometers, scientifi instruments (due to its unique chemicals properties), as well as many other products and processes. The use of mercury, however, is being reduced throughout the world due to its toxicity and the availability of substitutes. Certain forms of mercury and its compounds can damage neurological development and affect internal organs. Effects are most pronounced in pregnant women, infants and children. Mercury can spread far and wide through air and water: it is found as far from industrial centres as the Arctic. It is ingested by fih and other marine life, where it becomes concentrated as it moves up
the food chain.

The world’s governments agreed at the United Nations Environment Programme Governing Council in 2009 to prepare a legally binding instrument on mercury to protect human health and the environment from mercury. The
Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee is to develop
 

  a comprehensive and suitable approach to mercury, including provisions to reduce the supply of mercury taking into account the circumstances of countries. Negotiations are to conclude in 2013.

There is now only one known mercury mine in the world which continues to sell its output abroad: Khaidarkan, in the remote mountains of southern Kyrgyzstan.

 What will happen to the “kombinat” (the mine, smelter
and all the associated installations are known together
as “the kombinat”*) is still far from clear. For the international community, continuing mercury mining – business as usual, even if brought up to international standards – raises signifiсant concerns. It is widely recognized in the international community that limiting mercury supply
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*Combine (Комбинат, kombinat) was the Soviet bloc term for industrial business groups or conglomerates in the socialist countries. Examples include VEB Kombinat Robotron, an electronics manufacturer, and IFA, a manufacturer of vehicles, both in East Germany, or the Erdenet copper combine in Mongolia. (Source: Wikipedia)
 

 

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