(Posted in Soviet Chuvashia on August 22, 2007)
What do we usually do when a bulb burns out in our house? We throw it away without thinking that that, for example, fluorescent lamps contain mercury. However, every student in a school is aware that mercury is a hazardous metal that emits harmful gases.
This spring an authorized disposal field of 500 fluorescent lamps was have been discovered on the territory of Cheboksary Botanic Garden. R&D Mercury, LLC was called for its liquidation.
According to the company director, A. Shefer, it is likely that in such a way small private businesses or shopping and office centers save money. Demercurization of mercury containing lamps and equipment is provided at the state's expense for budget funded companies and organizations. Private companies should pay by themselves. - It is so sad, that many of us, who lives on earth, still do not care for our common home - nature. Moreover, is lamp recycling expensive?
— Decontamination of one lamp costs 4 rubles. Plus transportation costs of 40 kopec for each lamp if our cars are used. It is easy to calculate how much will the owner of illegally damped lamps save. Waste mercury containing equipment is rated 1 hazard class. The Law "On Environmental Protection" states: all businesses that use them, should sign an agreement on their disposal. Nevertheless, there are such people who recycle their waste in such an uncivilized way. For example, for two years already that somebody has been damping them in forest plantations near sewage treatment plants. In general, for the moment the collecting activities are poorly organized throughout the republic. Lamps from budget funded organizations and businesses are collected under a contract with the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Republic and the Cheboksary City Committee for Environmental Protection and Nature. We accept about 60 types of devices.
— So, you work with companies and businesses. But what should I do? Being a law-obeying citizen, I do not want to throw a burned out lamp into a garbage chute…
— No problem. Bring them to us. We accept lamps from public for free. By the way, many people bring lamps to us. They call. Ask, for example, what they can do with broken thermometers.
— It is good if you live nearby. Agree, not everyone will go from one end of the city to another. And what about the people who live in countryside?
— Of course, we cannot take away one or two lamps or thermometers. Moreover, the problem pf collecting mercury-containing equipment is not in our competence. In the countryside, it is the problem of local administration. If a place for collecting and storage is defined, our trucks can pick up this waste together with article under state contract. We are ready to cooperate. For instance, we can provide hermetic containers for the storage and transportation of lamps.
— Are there such kind of containers in Cheboksary? Have the city authorities tried to organize a separate collection of improper products?
— Two years ago, City's Environment Protection Committee invested a sum of money and made an agreement with housing services and utilities companies on separate collection of lamps. Nevertheless, over time this initiative died out. I think we need somebody responsible for opening a container, putting a lamp inside and closing it. It is not very much desirable that people have a free access to those containers. Because soon it will be full with everything, except for lamps. A few years ago, we tried to set a couple of hermetic containers at one of the enterprises of Cheboksary. We found a lot of interesting stuff inside. Even a dead cat. It was planned to put a container into a demercurization installation without prior treatment.
— Alexander Vsevolodovich, and does not contaminate your production atmosphere? Say, bulbs for recycling you carry even from outside the country.
Yes we accept lamps from Mary El, Tatarstan, Mordovia. The waste from our republic can load the production only for 30-35%. If we work at this level, the cost of recycling of one lamp will be much higher. Our company is one of the oldest Limited Liability Companies. We started in 1988 and by now have accumulate a vast experience. Equipment, which we design and produce, undergo a relevant expertise. And it is also certified. In addition, we upgrade it all the time. Ecological safeness is under constant control of the supervising organizations. According to sanitary and epidemiological service the MPC has never been exceeded, the polluting emissions have never been registered. Our installations are of closed type and they are fully hermetical. The treatment technology is as follows: during the treatment of lamps, mercury condensates and is collected into special containers. And we get clean glass. We used to produce blocks for garage construction, but now they are also not much demanded. However, the glass can be used as filling during the construction of roads. I can assure you that real thread comes not from our production, but from used, thrown away and broken fluorescent lamps. I can prove it: one lamp contains 0.06 grams of mercury and it can pollute more than 300 cubic meters if air…
Lamps and thermometers go hot