Mercury is a heavy metal and its chemical symbol is Hg. It is the only liquid element at ambient temperature and pressure; easily dissolving with other metals such as gold and silver (amalgamation); a flat discharge level and stable voltage if it is used for batteries, and so on. Because of these characteristics, mercury had been historically recognised as one of the useful metals for products and industrial uses, such as fluorescent lamps, mercury thermometers and barometers, mercury switches, dental amalgams, medicines, etc. We still use some of these products in our life even though mercury is now recognised as a global pollutant at international level.
UNEP IETC newly started our activities on an environmentally sound management (ESM) of mercury wastes to help the countries, who face the issues on mercury waste management, to develop their capacity to manage mercury wastes in an environmentally sound way. Our project focuses on assessment of mercury situation and identification of challenges to develop ESM of mercury wastes, development of mercury inventory and material flow of mercury wastes and development on ESM of mercury wastes appropriate for each country’s situation on waste management.