When in March 2011 the European Union banned the export of mercury and put its treatment under strict control, many companies engaged in the processing of mercury-containing waste, had to reduce recycling to a minimum. Guided by this principle, the companies in Serbia, after the accession to the EU, will be obliged to apply the safest techniques of such waste disposal.
Approximately 260 tons of mercury is in circulation today in the EU. The mercury was used for the manufacture of appliances for measuring, amalgams, energy saving light bulbs, chemicals and in the chloralkali process that is being slowly abandoned. One of the company MITECO's associates, the company Batrec from Switzerland, has recently started to apply the conversion in salt, that is in mercury sulphide, which is then deposited in the salt mines, as the best mercury stabilization technique. This is the only mechanism of mercury disposal in accordance with the highest standards, and in a manner safe for both human health and the environment.
Throughout history, mercury was used in the process of obtaining gold from the ore, amalgamation of gold, that is applying ore in the form of sludge on a copper plate coated with mercury. The obtained amalgam of gold and mercury was then scraped off from the plate and the mercury distillation was carried out. The amalgamation of gold is today performed only in illegal small mines in developing countries and is one of the most hazardous procedures related to the environmental pollution. Well-known examples of such pollution have been reported in South America, Africa and Indonesia.
One of the most well-known examples of mercury poisoning occurred in Japan, when there was a discharge of organic mercury into the sea and its deposition in fish that were used for food. The consequences were disastrous for people since the mercury affected the central nervous system of humans and led to genetic deformities in infants.
You can learn more about the incident on the following link: