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Articles on Mercury

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Most of the world’s electronics are not recycled, posing health and environmental risks. catscandotcom/Getty Images

Consumer electronics have changed a lot in 20 years – systems for managing e-waste aren’t keeping up

Technical advances are reducing the volume of e-waste generated in the US as lighter, more compact products enter the market. But those goods can be harder to reuse and recycle.
Phil / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Ban on toxic mercury looms in sugar cane farming, but Australia still has a way to go

Australia has failed to ratify an international treaty to reduce harmful mercury emissions. Mercury exposure can cause kidney damage and brain impairment, especially in children.
Artisanal small-scale gold mining polluted this stream and deforested sections of the Madre de Dios area of Peru. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Gold rush, mercury legacy: Small-scale mining for gold has produced long-lasting toxic pollution, from 1860s California to modern Peru

Small-scale gold mining operations in developing countries are major sources of toxic mercury pollution, using techniques that haven't changed much since the California Gold Rush 150 years ago.
The Rim Fire burned 256,000 acres of the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park in 2013. (USDA Forest Service, Chris Stewart)

Buried in mud: Wildfires threaten North American water supplies

Wildfires reduce the reliability of city water supplies in North America. But active forest management provides a key to the solution.
Industrial activities like mining, fossil fuel combustion, and cement production release mercury into the environment. Shutterstock

Plants safely store toxic mercury. Bushfires and climate change bring it back into our environment

Plants can store mercury and keep it from contaminating waterways, air and soils. Unfortunately, that mercury is released when plants burn.
A harmful algal bloom in the western basin of Lake Erie in August 2017. (NOAA/Aerial Associates Photography, Inc. by Zachary Haslick/flickr)

Great Lakes waters at risk from buried contaminants and new threats

The Great Lakes contain reservoirs of legacy contaminants, mostly in their sediments, that are vulnerable to resuspension.
In 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft looked back toward the sun and captured this near-sunset view of the rugged, icy mountains and flat ice plains extending to Pluto’s horizon. NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Planetary confusion – why astronomers keep changing what it means to be a planet

Many people are still upset that Pluto was demoted from being a planet. But definitions of various celestial objects are fairly fluid. So whether it is an asteroid or moon or planet is up for debate.
On June 5-6, 2012, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory collected images of one of the rarest predictable solar events: the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun. NASA/SDO, AIA

Why we need to get back to Venus

This hot, acidic neighbor with its surface veiled in thick clouds hasn't benefited from the attention showered on Mars and the Moon. But Venus may offer insights into the fate of the Earth.
Tasmania’s fires may have released mercury previously absorbed by trees. AAP Image

Mercury pollution from decades past may have been re-released by Tasmania’s bushfires

Huon pines in Tasmania have locked up significant amounts of mercury pollution from the state's mining industrial history. And that can be released back to the atmosphere in bushfires.
The Blood Moon from January 31, 2018. Our second chance to see an eclipsed Moon this year is coming up on July 28. Martin George

It’s a busy night sky this July, so make sure you look up

All five five planets visible to the naked-eye are on show in the night skies over Australia, and a Blood Moon on the way too.

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