EU move against mercury should be adopted in India: NGO


New Delhi : A Delhi-based environmental group Friday welcomed the European Union (EU) Parliament's resolution to ban mercury trade which causes environmental pollution, and urged the Indian government to do likewise.

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Toxics Link and other green groups hailed the EU resolution on Wednesday.

The group had called upon governments across the world to ban import of mercury at the 24th United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in February.

In one of its studies carried out in a few hospitals in the capital, Toxics Link found high concentration of mercury in the hospital indoor air, revealing the serious threat it posed to staff and patients.

Earlier, a detailed national study, 'Mercury: Poison in Neighbourhood', had shown that a cross section of the society, ranging from students to waste pickers, come in contact with the metal in some way or the other.

Mercury is a neurotoxin, which means that it can affect the nervous system, and can cross blood and placental barriers and cause developmental disorder.

Commenting on the EU resolution, Ravi Agarwal, director Toxics Link, said: "Europe has been the largest exporter of mercury, which figures on the top of the list of deadly contaminants considered a serious hazard to health and environment.

"And since India is the second largest user and importer of the heavy metal, after China, this development is nothing short of a turning point".

In July last year, Minister of State for Environment and Forests Namo Narain Meena had said that though the government was aware of the health hazards that the liquid metal causes, yet there was no proposal to curb its current free import and trade.

Agarwal hoped the Indian government would take a cue from the initiative against the lethal metal and ban its import.