Reducing Long-Term Disaster Risk through a Global Comparative Analysis of Methylmercury Contamination

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 11:30
Oral Presentation
Danielle MILLER-BELAND, Concordia University, Canada
In order to understand the full impact of disaster risk reduction research can have on the long term consequences caused by man-made disasters, this presentation will utilise a historical comparative analysis to demonstrate the usefulness in organizing and creating reconciliation when it comes to man-made environmental disasters causing human harm.

Methylmercury has been, and still is, one of the most harmful by-products in factory and mining production, and has been the leading cause of severe environmental contaminations worldwide with many cases causing harm to the people living in the nearby areas. The most well-known case if that of Minamata, Japan, demonstrating the worst-case scenario seen in regards to methylmercury contamination, and unfortunately, it is not the only one. But not all communities impacted by this contamination have such a negative impact, such as seen in Idrija, Slovenia, a small town built on the second biggest mercury mine in the world. While the community is saturated with mercury, there has not been an official case of poisoning since the early 70s. These differences in biological harm caused by the contamination can help us understand and realise the different impacts social reactions can have on the long-term consequences caused by methylmercury.

By comparing different cases of large-scale methylmercury contamination world-wide, this presentation seeks to demonstrate the value of cross-comparison research in understanding the long term impact of large scale contamination and how certain social effects have an effect on the recovery process of the contaminated community.