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Adapted from UNEP 2011, Basel Convention Technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of elemental mercury and wastes containing or contaminated with mercury Designed by Zoï Environment Network / GRID-Arendal, December 2012
Uploaded on Tuesday 01 Oct 2013
Merury management options
Several stabilization technologies exist: chemical transformation into a more stable, less mobile chemical compound; micro-encapsulation, the embedding of particles in an impermeable matrix such as cement; and macro-encapsulation, the covering of waste material with an impermeable material, for example polyethylene. The fact that stabilized mercury is non-toxic significantly helps the search for suitable storage sites. Unlike liquid mercury, the stabilized form is suitable for storage in landfills and underground.
Mercury storage and disposal is a growing problem. The global trend towards phasing out products which contain mercury and processes which use it will soon generate an excess of mercury if supplies remain at their current level. Environmentally sound management of mercury waste will be a critical issue for most countries. There are some good examples. But in the Latin American and Caribbean region, mercury supply may exceed demand by 2013. In 2012, UNEP helped Argentina and Uruguay to find environmentally sound solutions for the storage and disposal of excess mercury, including identifying existing hazardous waste facilities that could serve as temporary storage and identifying relevant regulatory frameworks. Both countries developed National Action Plans for the environmentally sound management of mercury and mercury wastes.