ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has successfully phased out 70 percent mercury use across the country while leading in the world for implementing the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
In an interview, Deputy Director (Chemical) Dr Zaigham Abbas here on Friday said the Convention’s objective was to protect human health and the environment from the serious effects of mercury.
“Pakistan has become signatory to the Minamata Convention on Mercury on 10 Oct, 2013 where the United Nations have launched various project to curb mercury releases including the Impact of Minamata Development Assessment project initiated in 2016. The Ministry of Climate Change has started a strong movement since then to meet the pledged targets under the Convention,” he informed.
Dr Zaigham said that various awareness sessions and workshops of all stakeholders were conducted from Karachi to Khunejrab Pass. Our motto was mercury free Pakistan whereas we had held various negotiations with the industrialists and other relevant stakeholders to apprise them about the issue, he added.
“The chlor-alkali industry set up in Kala Shah Kaku has been using higher values of mercury as catalyst for manufacturing chlorine and caustic soda. The industry’s engineers have been sent to Germany for training on mercury free solutions where they have now completely reduced the use of mercury,” Dr Zaigham said.
He said prior to our project on mercury free three industrial cohorts have gotten rid of mercury.
Compact Florescent Lamp (CFL) commonly known as tube lights also contained mercury.
However, with the advent of light emitting diode (LED) bulbs those companies have already discarded the production of CFL mercury induced lights, the ministry officials were informed during their visit to the production setups, he said.
He regretted that the health sector particularly the dentistry department was lagging behind in the cause of mercury free Pakistan.
“We have organized technical training and awareness sessions with various doctors namely dentists to educate them on the hazardous impacts of mercury filling. The mercury or silver filling is creating health complexities among less than 13 year age children, pregnant women resulting in disability of their baby and in males resulting carcinogenic implications,” Dr Zaigham explained.
The ministry, he said had managed to issue a notice across the country to ban mercury dental filling in the children less than 13 year and pregnant women.
Can Japan end its obsession with plastic?
TOKYO: Amid global concern apropos single-use waste, new legislation can help end Japan’s obsession with plastic.
The push comes ahead of the G20 summit, which Japan will host in Osaka in June. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government wants to use the meeting to push for an agreement on reducing marine plastic waste. But the country’s own record on single-use plastic is hardly exemplary: Japan generates more plastic packaging waste per capita than any other country except the United States, according to the UN.
“We believe there is room to reduce that volume and we are now considering ways to do that,” said Kentaro Doi, director of plastic waste strategy at Japan’s environment ministry. In 2018, Japan’s government unveiled a proposal to start tackling the issue, with the goal of reducing the country’s 9.4 million tonnes of plastic waste a year by 25 percent by 2030.
A key part of the proposal is to require businesses to charge for plastic bags – a measure that has been already been widely adopted around the world. “What we are going to do is to put a value on it… we would like people to think about whether it is really necessary to use them,” Doi told the Media.
But government officials acknowledge Japan is coming to the issue late – dozens of countries already require businesses to charge for plastic bags, and many have banned their use outright. “Other countries were ahead of us,” concedes Doi, adding that the policy in Japan “will be introduced in 2020, at the earliest.”
Past 30 years, the warmest in past 2,000 years: research
NANJING: Chinese and American scientists in joint research found that the past 30 years are the warmest time in the past 2,000-year period, due to the effect of anthropogenic greenhouse gas.
The scientists were able to read the well-dated and quantitative air temperature record through the research on a sediment core collected at a small alpine lake in subtropical southwest China’s Yunnan Province.
The report on the research was published on the March issue of the international journal of Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
The research was carried out by the State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Columbia University.
In the past 2,000 years, Earth’s climate system has transitioned from being forced solely by natural factors to also being forced by anthropogenic greenhouse gases. However, previous to the research, many existing climate records only extend back approximately 1,000 years in some continents.
The sediment samples from Tiancai Lake, located some 4,000 meters above sea level, keep the 2,000-year-long record.
The sediment has not been affected by human activities and can reflect multi-centennial-scale temperature fluctuations.
Zhao Cheng, a member of the research team, said the high-altitude region is sensitive to climate changes. Solar radiation and volcanic activities used to be major natural factors affecting the climate.
However, during the latter half of the 20th Century, anthropogenic greenhouse gas has become a major cause of the temperature rise.
Rainfall changes affect world’s crop-growing regions by 2040: study
WASHINGTON: A new study showed that the rainfall on wheat, soybean, rice and maize globally would be changed by 2040 even if humans reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The study published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that almost 14 percent of land growing the four major crops would be drier while up to 31 percent would be wetter.
However, in a scenario with low greenhouse gas emissions, most regions have two to three decades more to adapt than a high-emission scenario, according to the study released by International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).
The study showed that Southwestern Australia, Southern Africa, southwestern South America and the Mediterranean would become drier while Canada, Russia, Indian and the Eastern United States would be wetter.
China and India, the world’s most populous countries, are among those that will have much wetter fields for the four crops included in the study under any emission scenario.
More precipitation may mean higher production, but when coupled with rising sea levels, higher temperatures and increased potential for flooding, higher production is not assured, according to the study.
“Farmers growing crops in those areas are going to experience significantly different conditions than what they are used to,” said Julian Ramirez-Villegas, a scientist at CIAT.