Gaseous elemental mercury emissions from informal E-Waste recycling facilities in Pakistan

Kara M., Odabaşı M., Dumanoğlu Y., Kurt Karakuş P. B., Birgül A., Kazim M., ...More

Waste Management, vol.170, pp.261-269, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 170
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.wasman.2023.09.014
  • Journal Name: Waste Management
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, Aerospace Database, Applied Science & Technology Source, BIOSIS, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, CAB Abstracts, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, Environment Index, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Geobase, INSPEC, MEDLINE, Metadex, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database, DIALNET, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.261-269
  • Keywords: E-waste, GEM, Informal recycling, Passive sampling, Spatio-temporal variations
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Detrimental effects of mercury (Hg) on ecosystems and human health have been well-documented. Whereas emissions of gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) from e-waste recycling have been reported in developed countries, much less is known about the situation in the Global South. Using a total of 132 passive air samplers, seasonally resolved concentrations of GEM in air were measured continuously at 32 informal e-waste recycling facilities and background location in Pakistan for a period of one year between September 2020 and December 2021. Annual average GEM concentrations at the studied locations ranged from 1.8 to 92 ng m−3. Among the studied cities, higher concentrations were measured in Karachi (mean ± s.d: 17 ± 22, range: 4.2–92 ng m−3), Lahore (16 ± 4.2, 8.2–22 ng m−3) and Peshawar (15 ± 17, 4.9–80 ng m−3), while lower levels were measured in Hyderabad (6.9 ± 6.2, 3.1–25 ng m−3), consistent with a higher rate of informal recycling activities in metropolitan areas. Seasonally, higher GEM levels occurred during autumn (15 ± 16: 3.3–92 ng m−3) and summer (13 ± 8.7: 1.8–80 ng m−3) than in winter (12 ± 8.4: 2.5–49 ng m−3) and spring (9.2 ± 7.3: 1.8–80 ng m−3), possibly reflecting enhanced volatilization at higher temperatures and/or varying magnitude of recycling operations in different seasons. Policies and strict regulations related to e-waste management should be developed and implemented urgently in the country.