Status and trends of mercury pollution of the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems in Poland

The goal of this paper is to assess the current status and trends of total mercury (THg) contamination of the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems in Poland. The study shows that the reduced domestic and worldwide atmospheric emission of Hg resulted in decreased THg level in the terrestrial biotope and biosphere. Considering that Poland is one of the main Hg emitters in Europe, the THg concentrations in its abiotic environment are still elevated. However, the THg level in terrestrial organisms is relatively low, which is because a large proportion of Hg deposited on land is accumulated in organic-rich soils. Regarding the THg concentration, consumption of wildlife and livestock from Poland is safe for humans. Nevertheless, the authors indicate the need for effective environmental monitoring, based on selected bioindicators, which is crucial considering the slowing reduction of Hg emission combined with the consequences of the changing climate.

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