E Minamata disease Q&A

Mercury in the environment

Q2: Where does mercury in the air come from?

A2: Mercury gas is generated by eruption of volcanoes or by burning of fossil fuels.

Commentary:
The annual amount of mercury emitted into the air is estimated to be about 80-600 tons due to eruption of volcanoes, about 2,000-2,950 tons due to vaporization from the surface of the sea, and about 2,000 tons due to burning of fossil fuels, mainly coal. In addition, mercury is emitted from the ground and from plants (about 1,700-2,800 tons), and the mercury in the air finally returns to the ground in rain or fog.