IAEA and UN Environment Assist Member States on Mercury Monitoring

by Patricia R. Davis

Given its devastating fitness outcomes as a strong neurotoxin, mercury is one of the top ten chemical substances in public situations, consistent with the World Health Organisation (WHO). The IAEA Environment Laboratories, collectively with UN Environment, hosted specialists from around the arena for the remaining month to speak about how best Member States can tackle tracking this global pollutant. This assembly occurred within a GEF-funded challenge to support a Global Monitoring Plan of Mercury for the landmark Minamata Convention on Mercury, followed in 2013, utilizing 128 countries.

IAEA and UN Environment Assist Member States on Mercury Monitoring 3

Following the Convention’s Conference of Parties (COP) in 2018, biota (along with vegetation, fish, seabirds, and shellfish) and soil were proposed to be reviewed as additional matrices of interest for mercury monitoring. With worldwide seafood consumption nearly doubling in the past three years and over 1 billion human beings worldwide depending predominantly on seafood sources for their protein consumption, tracking of mercury ocean concentrations is critical.

The meeting brought together a selection of stakeholders on mercury monitoring – scientists, the Minamata Convention Secretariat, UN Environment, and representatives from Parties to the Convention – to discuss the deserves of including biota and soil in the matrices to be monitored in the Minamata Convention implementation. Currently, the handiest atmospheric and human bio-tracking is being carried out.

As the most effective marine laboratory inside the UN machine, the IAEA Environment Laboratories have been at the vanguard of supplying match-for-purpose analytical methods for tracking mercury and methyl mercury in marine samples of fish or shellfish marine sediments and seawater. At the assembly, Ms. Emiliya Vasileva, a research scientist at the IAEA Environment Laboratories, shared the Laboratories’ knowledge on mercury and methyl mercury strategies development, assisting in improving the global performance of monitoring laboratories and the availability of reliable and comparable analytical records for worldwide mercury monitoring.

“The new street to grow to be an accomplice with UN Environment in implementing the Minamata convention is thrilling, and we’re searching ahead to get a clear mandate from the signatories during the following COP in November. Together, we can help our Member States with a good deal wanted mercury tracking to sell seafood protection and the fitness of the most susceptible members of society,” stated Sylvia Sander, Section Head of the Marine Environment Studies Laboratory, one of the 3 Monaco-based totally laboratories that comprise the IAEA Environment Laboratories, the fourth being the Terrestrial Environment Laboratory in Seibersdorf, Austria.

The IAEA Environment Laboratories have long worked with the Member States on developing standards for producing remarkable facts and improvement of mercury monitoring inside the ocean and research related to transferring this toxic pollutant up the meal chain. This includes distributing encouraged analytical techniques for mercury and mercury species’ dedication, production of matrix-certified reference substances, the agency of world inter-laboratory comparisons, and education of laboratory practitioners managing mercury tracking. IAEA Certified Reference Materials are treasured equipment for the validation of analytical techniques and the status quo of traceability of size consequences used for mercury monitoring to the world’s devices over widely wide-spread gadget of reference SI.

The professional assembly follows longstanding cooperation between the IAEA and the UN Environment. They began working together in 1973 after mutually organizing one international interlaboratory assessment on mercury and trace metals. Another hallmark collaboration includes the once-a-year training course at the IAEA Environment Laboratories, part of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MED POL), the UN Environment’s program on pollution within the Mediterranean. There, too, mercury is the pollution for which the IAEA trains scientists from Mediterranean international locations on sampling and analytical techniques in biota, including fish or mussels and marine sediment.

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