Success story

EO-based surveillance of mercury pollution

Atmosphere; Environmental, Pollution & Climate


Mercury is a pollutant of global concern. Released to the atmosphere from several anthropogenic and natural sources, it deposits to oceans and terrestrial ecosystems affecting the food chain and ultimately human health. Its effects potentially impact on both human health and the environment, so it is necessary to take into consideration the pathways of exposure for people, and to implement a surveillance for the protection of human beings and of the environment. Efforts at European level have been aimed to develop a Transnational Environmental Observation System in Support of European & International Policies through the Integration of real-time monitoring data from various platforms, modelling tools and an advanced global cyber-infrastructure for data sharing and interoperability.


New web services for reporting information, as for example atmospheric Hg concentrations in different World regions, mercury’ exchange fluxes between different environmental compartments (e.g. soil, oceans), as well as Hg bioaccumulation in biota. The solution makes use of advanced technologies in the field of EO as demonstrator on how massive datasets could be translated into knowledge and actions.


  • More effective evaluation of measures undertaken by nations for the Minamata convention
  • Information more accessible to citizens
  • Better understanding of global cycle of mercury (Hg) at continental and global scales

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