How to live in mercury-free environment?

Mar 27, 2017

Image: UNDP video on measures to be taken in case a thermometer is damaged

When the mercury-containing devices are broken, mercury enters the environment. Its vapors can lead to serious poisoning: if the substance is not collected in time, it results into fumes that create a dangerous concentration in the air.

In March 2017, in the village of Leninskoye, in the Kyrgyz Republic, 100 employees of the territorial and subordinate units of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Kyrgyz Republic were trained to safely handle mercury-containing waste. Courses were held in the center of training and retraining of civil protection specialists under the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the KR.

Participants improved their knowledge on emergency response, incidents related to mercury-containing waste. They also received knowledge related to mercury-containing waste during handling, transportation, storage and disposal. To make better the learning process there were conducted situational sessions and demonstration practices. Later, these specialists will be involved in emergencies related to the bottling of mercury.

“Today the Kyrgyz Republic is on the edge of changes in the legislation in the healthcare and ecology, with the aim to prevent and minimize the mercury’s impact. In recent years, discussions have been held on adoption of the Minamata Convention by our country,” – told Cholpon Chekirova, Chief specialist of the Department of Medical, Radiation, Chemical and Bacteriological Protection of the Population and Territorial Protection in the Ministry of Emergencies of the Kyrgyz Republic.

In our everyday life, in the areas as health care and manufacture we are always surrounded by mercury containing products as thermometers, barometers, energy-saving lamps, bactericidal lamps and other measuring equipment. 

Mercury adversely influence human health, regardless of age, especially children and women are more vulnerable of its affect. It is very difficult to remove molecules of mercury from the body and in some cases this process is generally impossible - the harmful substance remains in texture and cells, continuing the disastrous effect on the body. Consequences of such poisoning can be pathological disruption of the genitourinary system, development of infectious diseases of the digestive system, pathological damage to the central nervous system.

Trainings were held with the support of the GEF-UNDP project “Protection of human health and the environment from accidental emissions of persistent organic pollutants and mercury in the result of improper handling of medical waste in the Kyrgyz Republic”.

Zhyldyz Uzakbaeva, UNDP Project Coordinator