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PERSISTENT POLLUTANTS IN THE RUSSIAN ARCTIC

Дата публикации: 15 ноября 2021
Автор(ы): Alexei KONOPLYOV, Yuri TSATUROV
Публикатор: Научная библиотека Порталус
Рубрика: ЭКОЛОГИЯ
Источник: (c) Science in Russia, №2, 2014, C.83-88
Номер публикации: №1636974621


Alexei KONOPLYOV, Yuri TSATUROV, (c)

by Alexei KONOPLYOV, Dr.Sc. (Biol.), Chief Research Assistant of the Research and Production Association "Taifun" of the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Rosgidromet), Yuri TSATUROV, Assistant Director of Rosgidromet

 

After scientists detected increased concentrations of persistent pollutants in the organisms of the indigenous population of the North, the problem of existence of such compounds in the Arctic Regions has become especially acute. Such substances do not decompose for a long time, accumulate in living bodies, are easily transported to large distances and are abundant in the environment. They include first of all persistent organic pollutants and some heavy metals, for example, mercury. People living in the North are often exposed to the negative effects of these substances originating from industrially developed regions (North America, Western Europe, and South-Eastern Asia).

 

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) was launched in 1991, in 1997 the first assessment report was published stating that this region is an integral part of the rest of the world, and pollutants get to this territory from sources located far away from its borders.

 

The second and third AMAP reports were issued in 2002 and 2009 respectively. The obtained data were helpful for preparation of protocols on the persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals for the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution of the UN Economic Commission for Europe, Stock-

 
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holm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and getting ready for negotiations intended to develop a global legally binding agreement on mercury. The pollutant monitoring in the Arctic Regions makes it possible both to detect sources, critical channels of dissemination and assess efficiency of implementation of international treaties.

 

In 2001, Russia signed and in 2011 ratified the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Pollutants aimed to protect man's health and environment from negative effects of pollutants by way of their decreasing or eliminating in full.

 

Recently the international community has been concerned about wide dissemination and constantly growing concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) in the environment. They are industrial chemicals used to produce plastics, textiles, electronic circuit boards (to prevent their inflammation); they are also used as additives to produce chemical polymers. Like POP, they can be carried to long distances and accumulate in living bodies.

 

Within the framework of the 3rd Conference of the parties to the Stockholm Convention, the Global Monitoring Plan for Persistent Organic Pollutants was approved. It is to create a harmonized organizational infrastructure to collect comparable monitoring data to identify temporary trends associated with persistent organic pollutants and concentrations in the environment, as well as to get information relating to the regional and global transport of such substances. The main research efforts should be focused on the background regions not affected by local sources of pollutants.

 

Traditionally, the environmental monitoring in Russia is implemented by Rosgidromet bodies. The data are presented in the form of Annual Reviews of environmental pollution (air, land and ocean waters, soils) in Russia. Since persistent organic pollutants are semi-volatile, resistant to decomposition, and have bioaccumulation properties, they are able to migrate by air and water basins at a distance of thousands of kilometers from the places where they are used and accumulate in soils and water ecosystems. That is why atmospheric air, surface waters (benthic sediments) and biological objects are indicative in the context of influence on man's health. Besides, initially, experts of the UN Environment Program proposed to use air, bivalved mollusks, bird eggs, fish and/or sea mammals (depending on regional and national peculiarities), breast milk and human blood as matrices of the global POP monitoring.

 

Persistent pollutants are transported globally mostly by air. That's why studies of atmospheric air--assessment of pollutant concentrations and precipitation on the underlying surface--are of a top priority. Therefore, Rosgidromet is first of all striving to organize a network of air monitoring stations. The main effort is focused on Russian Arctic Regions, as a region at a high pollution risk. Scientists compare national data with the results obtained by foreign global monitoring stations.

 

In Russia, such monitoring was carried out at the polar Dunai station in Yakutia, in the estuary of the

 
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Lena River (1993-1994), at Amderma station in the Nenets Autonomous Area (1999-2001), on the coastline of the Kara Sea, on the arctic border between Europe and Asia, at the polar Valkarkai station (2002-2003 and 2008-2010), 50 km away from the town of Pevek along the coastline of the East-Siberian Sea, on the Chukotka Peninsula, and at the Tiksi hydrome-teoobservatory in Yakutia (2010-2011).

 

As a result it became obvious that in the northern part of Chukotka concentrations of a number of substances from the list of the Stockholm Convention increased (Valkarkai settlement) as compared with the results obtained at other national (Amderma and Dunai settlements) and foreign stations. It might be explained by ingress of pollutants from more southern Asian territories of Russia and neighboring countries.

 

Tiksi is one of the arctic stations where minimal concentrations of the PCBs (organic substances consisting of all chlorinated derivatives of diphenyl) are registered. The maximal concentrations of tetrachlorinated PCBs were registered there in summer, in autumn they decreased, reached minimal values in winter and increased again in spring. The dominating organochlorine pesticide registered at Tiksi and other Russian monitoring stations is α-hexachlorocyclohexane. In the Russian Arctic Regions, scientists registered increased concentrations of pesticides never used in our country, such as mirex, heptachlor, chlordans, etc.

 

It was established that polybrominated diphenyl ethers are widely spread and are detected (in high concentrations) in the samples of air taken both in the central cities (Moscow, Obninsk) and in the settlements of the Russian North (Arkhangelsk, Amderma, Valkarkai).

 

In the light of ratification of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, the priority tasks in the field of development of the national monitoring system can be formulated as follows: creation of a system of specialized scientific-methodological and regional centers in charge of POP analysis in the environment at a level compatible with the present-day global requirements; creation of a coordination training center for monitoring and analysis; centralized provision of equipment for specialized scientific-methodological and regional centers with modern analytical equipment of the same type; development or adaptation of existing methods of analysis using state-of-the-art devices; structuring of sampling process and delivery of samples to the Regional Analytical Centers with the use of Rosgidromet stations and other institu-

 
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Comparison of concentrations of the sum of 10 basic polychlorinated biphenyl congeners in the ground air at the monitoring stations in the Russian and global Arctic Regions.

 

 

Comparison of concentrations of some organochlorine pesticides in the ground air of the Russian Arctic.

 

 

tions; provision of modern sampling equipment to net subdivisions; assessment monitoring of POP emissions by metallurgical, chemical, pulp-and-paper plants and waste disposal units (including polychlorinated dioxins and dibenzofurans, polychlorinated biphenyls); development and conducting of national data-bases on POP concentrations in the environment of our country compatible with global analogues.

 

The last assessment of the Arctic environment within the AMAP Program dedicated to mercury pollution was carried out in 2011 according to the results of scientific studies in 2008-2011. Mercury belongs to the top priority pollutants strongly affecting Arctic ecosystems. Air transport is the primary channel of ingress of this substance to this region. Besides, the continuous removal of mercury from the atmosphere results in its global dissemination throughout the world.

 

In the Russian Arctic Regions, continuous monitoring of mercury concentrations in the air has been carried out since 2001 at the Amderma polar station, located near the geographical border between Europe and Asia. According to the results of studies it was established that in spring concentrations of mercury fall down, like in other Arctic regions of Canada, USA, Norway, and Denmark. In spring, from the late March to mid-June, variability of its concentrations essentially increases, while minimal variability was registered annually in the period from September to December. In the course of monitoring, the average annual concentrations of elementary mercury vapors in the air samples taken in the settlement of Amderma used to fall down. Apparently, this can be explained by lower emissions of mercury by European anthropogenic sources due to the approved restrictions and bans.

 

According to the results of monitoring in Amderma, the eruption of the Icelandic volcanoes Eyjafjallajökull in April 2010 and Grimsvotn in May 2011 led to a certain increase in the concentrations of gaseous mercury

 
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Concentrations of main POP--polychlorinated biphenyls and DDT-- in the blood of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Arctic as compared with the data for the Moscow Region and southern part of the Far East (Khabarovsk Territory).

 

 

Seasonal dynamics of concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the ground air in the area of Tiksi hydrometeoobservatory.

 

in the air samples taken at Amderma station located 2,500 km away from the eruption area. The increased concentrations of this substance in the air samples of Amderma coincided in time with annually registered events of "depletion" of mercury in the period of polar sunrise--from March to May. The data of modelling of air mass transport following the eruption of the volcanoes and calculations effected by a reverse trajectory method confirm carry-over of these masses to the area of Amderma in the period of increased mercury concentrations. Thus, the long-term monitoring of this substance in the air near Amderma made it possible to reveal the impact of eruptions of these volcanoes on mercury pollution levels globally and first of all in the Arctic Regions.

 

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program revealed: most mercury comes to the Arctic Regions as a result of a distant transfer from anthropogenic sources located in the moderate latitudes; taking into account peculiarities of the traditional diet, peoples of the North are strongly exposed to the negative effects of the latter. Such situation made the Arctic Council initiate global international actions aimed to reduce mercury emissions. These efforts were not in vain. At present, a legally binding document--an agreement on mercury--is being developed under the auspices of the UN Environment Program. At the sessions of the Intergovernmental Negotiations Committee for preparation of a required agreement, the Arctic Council presented the main conclusions and recommendations

 
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Time dynamics of mercury concentrations in the ground air in the settlement of Amderma (average for 4 h of monitoring).

 

Seasonal dynamics of mercury concentrations in the air in the settlement of Amderma in 2009. In the period from March to May "depletion" of mercury associated with the polar sunrise is registered.

 

 

of the AMAP Assessment for Mercury 2011 (hereinafter-- Assessment 2011). In particular, the Intergovernmental Negotiations Committee made a decision that after approval and enactment of the agreement on mercury its efficiency will be assessed on the basis of data of the global mercury monitoring. In this respect, it is expedient to focus on the development of mercury monitoring stations taking samples of air, water, soil and biological objects, including within the framework of the State Ecological Program. A key role will play a network of stations of mercury monitoring in the atmospheric air of the Russian Arctic Regions.

 

The main task of Assessment 2011 was to obtain updated data and find an answer to the following question: "What does the mercury pollution level depend on in the Arctic Regions and how does it affect the arctic biota?" According to the obtained data, the level of pollution is constantly increasing irrespective of reducing anthropogenic emissions of mercury in the North America, Europe and Russia. At present, annual emissions make up 2,000 tons of mercury from anthropogenic sources and 3,000-4,000 tons of mercury from natural sources (volcanoes, geothermal springs). The mercury concentration may also increase due to registered and expected climate warming as a result of mercury reemission from the underlying surface. According to Assessment 2011, about 100 tons of mercury gets into the Arctic Ocean from air and the same quantity from the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans together with rivers flowing into them.

 

The Assessment 2011 contains also Russian data, in particular, the results of mercury monitoring in the air of Amderma settlement (Research and Production Association "Taifun", Rosgidromet), concentration values of mercury in biota and blood of the indigenous population of the Arctic zone of Russia, received within the framework of the project of the Global Ecological Fund "Persistent Toxic Substances, Safe Nutrition and Indigenous Peoples of the Russian North", and the results of modeling of the atmospheric mercury transfer globally, effected by the Meteorological Synthesizing Center Vostok. According to Assessment 2011, it is recommended to continue arctic monitoring of this substance in the air, biota and human organisms, in particular, to expand the geographical coverage of mercury monitoring in the objects of the environment in the Russian and global Arctic.

 

Illustrations supplied by the authors

 

 

Опубликовано на Порталусе 15 ноября 2021 года

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