Anthropogenic activities have aroused great concern in terms of the negative impact on ecosystems and human health. With rapid industrial development, Malaysia has experienced problems with regard to mercury pollution. Knowledge of the mercury emission and release inventory, and the main factors that ameliorate the environmental impact of anthropogenic activities, will contribute to environmentally sound mercury management, which is becoming increasingly urgent in Malaysia. In this study, inventories for total mercury emission and release in 2019 were devised to understand pollution sources. A life cycle impact assessment was used to identify the major factors contributing to the overall environmental burden. The environmental impact of anthropogenic mercury releases was compared between (sub)source categories. The total mercury input in 2019 was 36.4 t, of which 30.4 t were released to the natural environment under the output scenario of mercury release with no emission control. The respective amounts of 12.7, 1.8, and 15.9 t of mercury were released to air, water, and land. The environmental burden to terrestrial ecosystem imposed by mercury release was higher than that to freshwater and marine ecosystems. The harm to human health was 4,785 DALY, and harm to ecosystem was 0.85 species/y. The category of coal combustion was the largest contributor to the harms of human health (44 % of total impact), followed by cement production (11 % of total impact), and natural gas extraction and combustion (11 % of total impact). The category of gold mining (no amalgamation) was the largest contributor to the harms to ecosystems (76 % of total impact), followed by coal combustion (11 % of total impact). The result of this study can provide a scientific information to policymaker for strategic management of mercury in Malaysia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)