NIT Srinagar hosts workshop on Mercury as a global pollutant of the Minamata Convention 

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Students have utmost role in contributing towards the environment: Director NIT

Srinagar, June 19: The National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar on Saturday organised a day long awareness workshop on Mercury (Hg) as a global pollutant.  

The event was jointly organised by Laboratory of Multifunctional Nanomaterials (LMN), NIT Srinagar in collaboration with Centre for Minamata Convention Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad. 

 While Dr. Asif Qureshi, Professor from Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Hyderabad was the speaker of the event. 

The session was attended by Director NIT Srinagar, Prof. Dr. Rakesh Sehgal, Registrar NIT Prof. Kaiser Bukhari while  Dr. M. A. Shah from the Physics department was the brain behind organising the workshop for the betterment of students and faculty. 

On the occasion, Dr. Sehgal said mercury is a global toxic pollutant and is released into the environment through a range of natural and anthropogenic sources.

“It can travel long distances, bioaccumulate in food chains and cause harmful neurological and cardiovascular health effects in exposed humans and wildlife,” he said.

Director NIT also appreciated the role of Dr. MA Shah for organising such informative events for the students of the country and stated that there is a major role of students in contributing towards the environment. 

While appreciating organizers, Registrar NIT Prof. Kaiser Bukhari in his message said the primary aim of this lecture was that students would be updated with environmental causes and NIT Srinagar will be hosting such lectures in future also. 

HOD Physics, Prof P A Ganaie, while conveying his message that we need to join hands to save the environment and thanked Prof Shah for making the Department vibrant to speak on noble issues. 

While addressing the virtual workshop, Dr. Shah said the workshop is intended to raise awareness among general people, students and academicians in India on the historical and present aspects of mercury use and pollution. 

Dr. Shah said there is need of awareness about mercury as one of the major pollutant and there is need to join hands to make its minimum use and suggested that students need to find its alternative. 

He admitted that in one of the recent events on Environmental day, this pollutant (Hg) was not discussed because of innocence. 

 In his keynote speech, Dr. Qureshi talked about historical use of mercury, its bioaccumulation, and how humans are exposed to it. He also gave an introduction about the Minamata Convention   on mercury in which around 250 countries have signed the agreement. 

 He said medical effects that mercury can have on human bodies including neurological disorders, organ failures, and cardiovascular disorders. 

 “The natural paths of contaminations like volcanos and forest fires and the man-made paths of contaminations like coal fired power plants, metals smelting, iron and steel factories, and waste burning,” Dr. Qureshi said.

He also talked about mercury cycles in the environment and gave a brief idea about the global emissions of mercury in air, in water, and in soil. 

Dr. Qureshi also informed about the countries which have a major role in producing the mercury pollutants.

  The event was attended by students across India and other parts of the world and interactive workshop concluded with a question-answer session by the students. 

Earlier the author and main speaker Dr. Qureshi was introduced by Durakhshan Ashraf Qadri, while vote of thanks was presented by Surbhi Rajpoot and event was hosted by Nikhilesh Kumar Dilwaliya M.Sc. Physics, final year M Sc Physics student, NIT Srinagar.

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