Expert meetings in South America address the mercury contamination of Amazon areas

24 November 2022

Sergi Díez (fourth from the left) with the other research experts of the HgAmazonia workshop in Perú. Source: Sergi Díez

The IDAEA researcher Sergi Díez, from the Environmental Pollution & Agriculture group, has participated in two expert meetings in South America to address the environmental issue of Amazon areas contaminated by mercury.

“Mercury contamination in the Amazon is closely associated with artisanal and small-scale mining. In these cases, gold is mined using crude techniques. To recover the gold, this amalgam is vaporized with a blowtorch. Mercury vapors pollute the environment, and are highly toxic if inhaled by miners or nearby residents”, explains Sergi Díez.

During the CYTED meeting (CYTED stands for ‘Programa Iberoamericano de Ciencia y Tecnología para el Desarrollo’), celebrated in Joao Pessoa (Brasil), Díez presented the MercuRed network progress for the period 2021-2024. MercuRed is a network made of various research groups from six Ibero-American countries, working on the development and promotion of technologies for the measurement, protection, and recovery of areas contaminated by mercury, thus contributing to compliance with the Minamata Convention.

The HgAmazonia workshop, celebrated in Puerto Maldonado (Perú), aimed to answer research questions and priorities on the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale mining in the Amazon region.

 

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