Encyclopedia of Earth: Global anthropogenic emissions of mercury to the atmosphere
This article has been reviewed and approved by the following Topic Editor: Lori Zaikowski (other articles)
Mercury (Hg) is one of the most important environmental contaminants that need more attention from policy makers, industry, and general public. This contaminant is toxic, persistent, and long-lived in the atmosphere (a subject of transport with air masses on a global scale). Coal combustion is believed to be the main source of mercury emissions to the atmosphere. Mercury emitted in China can be deposited from the air to land and sea in North America and even the Arctic. How should we deal with this trans-bordered problem? Shall the international society in developed countries pay for the reduction of mercury emissions in developing countries? How much is the society willing to pay for mercury emission reductions in order to protect human welfare? What are the scenarios for future emissions of Hg and environmental and human exposure to this contaminant? Accurate information on sources and emissions of mercury is needed to address these important questions.