Mercury is one of the most dangerous toxic trace metal pollutants that can affect the growth of many plant species. It accumulates biologically and enters in to the food chain system generating long term health problems.

Industrial development has been considered as one of the major factors responsible for increasing levels of mercury accumulations within the plants. Anthropogenic activities have contributed significantly to the mercury adulteration of our atmosphere.

Some of these common causes include mining, growing rate of fossil fuel burning, and increased use of raw material rich in mercury. There are several industrial processes that involve mercury rich materials in production. If you are living in a place where rate of industrialization is high then you and your garden both are exposed to moderate to high levels of mercury contamination.

A considerable area around such type of industries is considered as polluted and contaminated. The normal radius of such an area could vary from 5 km to 12 km or even more. There are typical plant species that are most vulnerable to this type of mercury contamination. Cement manufacturing and processing units are one of these typical industries causing heavy mercury accumulations in plant species.

If your home and garden falls within the periphery of such an affected zone then you need to be aware of the problems and must know how to be more protective and safe from mercury accumulations and its related impacts.

Industrial environment affects gardens, plants, crops and almost every other living thing in its own vicinity. Seasonal variations and wind direction are two really important factors that control the effective rate of mercury accumulation. Levels and rate of
mercury also varies from one part of the plant to the other. It will be different at stem, root, and leaf in almost all cases.

Results revealed by several research studies in this perspective clearly indicate that the pattern of mercury and cadmium accumulation is never uniform within or among various plants species. There are several responsible factors for such effects including fluctuation in environment like temperature, soil, pH, soil aeration, soil moisture, the root system, presence of elements in the soil, and supply of energy to different parts of the plant. Different plant varieties and species have different rate of mercury and cadmium and other toxic metals absorption rate and accumulation rates within their tissues.

The toxic metal pollution dynamics depends greatly upon the uptake and accumulation of chemically active elements and compounds. In simple terms it means that the level of different element’s accumulation would be different in each plant species. For instance, mercury and cadmium, both highly dangerous elements, have high rate of bio-accumulation compared to other elements.

Various studies have also established that the low, moderate, and high levels of mercury accumulations in different parts of plants can easily be correlated with the transportation system through xylem and phloem. Such accumulation rate is affected by factors like lateral transfer, intra-phloem remobilization, and transpiration intensity. This in simple terms is an explanation as why the mercury mobility is greater while entering through stem or leaf.

Studies also revealed that the entry of toxic metal pollutants like mercury and cadmium through plant leaves is more significant because of its aerosol deposition in the plants. Such type of leaf accumulation is directly proportional to the distance from the industrial unit emitting such mercury and cadmium rich pollutants.

This information would certainly help you determine the probabilities of mercury and other toxic metal pollutants contamination with specific reference to your garden and plants. Once understood the concept and its reasons you will be in a position to understand and apply the safeguards and preventive measures in a better way.

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