Mercury in Stream: Identifying the Concentration of Mercury in Water

We have seen tremendous growth in the application of the GIS (geographic information system) in environment-related projects over the past few years. One of the important areas that have been the focus of researchers and scientists is the factors affecting the environment. It includes soil, water, and vegetation. The relationship between these factors can have a significant impact on our ecosystem. Lately, the research around the concentration of mercury in streams has been doing the rounds.

Mercury (hg) is classified as inorganic and elementary mercury. As soon as the mercury mixes with the lake water, it is ready to be converted into different chemical reactions, the most popular one of which is methyl mercury. GIS is used as a popular tool for not only creating maps of the mercury in streams, but it shows the spatial relationships between these elements affecting the atmosphere and environment.

The major purpose for conducting this research is to identify the exact concentration of mercury in the water so that people can get a clear picture of what percentage of the lake water is contaminated with this chemical. Not only can it pose a health threat to aquatic life, but the presence of mercury in streams can be hazardous for humans too. If you don’t already know this, mercury is a neurotoxin that can be extremely dangerous to human health. If humans eat fish contaminated with this hazardous chemical, they are likely to suffer serious harm. The same goes for wildlife. Mercury is produced from coal combustion.

Mercury: How Does it Affect Human and Wildlife?

The chemical travels a long distance in the air before it finally settles on the ground and is deposited deep into the oceans. It spreads all across the lakes, contaminating not only the water but the aquatic life. In fact, mercury in lakes has become so common that it is identified as the common cause of impairment in people and wildlife. As mentioned earlier, the biggest problem with this chemical is that it is highly dangerous for the human nervous system.

The worst part is that mercury is found in higher concentrations in the tissues of animals and plants than in the water itself. Besides that, a considerable volume of mercury has been observed in air, sediment, and biota, making it one of the most hazardous elements for humans and wildlife. Since the consumption of aquatic animals is pretty common in nearly all nations, it is important to implement the GIS tools to get a better understanding of the concentration of mercury in the stream. This helps you identify the level of contamination in aquatic life.

Not only does it help scientists identify the contamination status, but based on these findings, they can come up with a plan to conserve the fish and other aquatic animals from mercury. Although there’s no way to prevent lake contamination altogether, certain steps can be taken to reduce it as much as possible or protect the aquatic animals from getting contaminated.