Burning of coal releases tons of mercury to air in South-Africa
- It is urgent to reduce mercury pollution because emissions produced by human activities are quite high globally, Pacyna told South African newspaper The Times. - At this rate, by 2020 they will be at least 25 percent higher than in 2005.
South Africa is estimated to produce 40t of gaseous mercury annually — most of it from burning coal — compared with the global total of 1535t. Mercury occurs naturally in coal and is released into the air when the coal burns. Once the mercury lands on earth or in water, some of it is converted into a highly toxic form, methylmercury, which easily is taken up in the food chain, and can affect brain development in children.