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Toxics Alert, an environment news bulletin from toxics link Toxics Link
Issue 8
, 2008
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Delhi Government to fund mercury awareness campaign by Toxics Link in Capital's schools

By: Parvinder Singh, Source: Toxics Link, Date: , 2008

In a major move towards creating awareness on the environmental and health hazards posed by mercury, the Department of Environment, Government of Delhi, and Toxics Link have entered into an agreement on an intervention programme that will extend to 50 schools here.

A memorandum to this affect was penned earlier this month. Under the programme, Toxics Link will use communication materials and orientation sessions to highlight exposure pathways of mercury, safeguards and its alternatives.

Mercury is today seen as one of the leading environmental contaminant in the world today, as it is lethal even in trace amounts, and can travel long distance from the original source of emission. Though there is a strong global campaign against this silvery heavy metal, backed by large no number of health studies, yet it continues to be used in a host of products and applications.

The campaign will highlight day-to-day usage of mercury based products, like thermometers, blood pressure measuring instruments, switches, fluorescent lights etc. Students are also exposed to mercury through spillage and breakages in the school laboratories.

The specific targets of the intervention are: Generate awareness on hazard of mercury in daily life, train students in spill management at home and motivate students to stop using mercury-based equipments at homes.

Toxics Link has been pioneering awareness on the issue of mercury through assessment studies and communication materials. A national-level study in 2006 had shown that a large number of students in Kolkata schools were exposed to mercury in the labs through breakage. Shockingly some of them had even inhaled its vapours.

A first of its kind advocacy film on mercury and its impact, Mercury no Silver Lining; will be screened besides distribution of flyers and posters.

Mercury is a neurotoxin and affects kidney as well. It can severely impair normal functioning of those getting exposed to it, ranging from lowered intelligence to anemia. Al most all usage of mercury today is replaceable.