The member institutions of the international Life Mercury-Free consortium, one of which is the AGH University, met with the representatives of Krakow’s authorities to approve the so-called road map for partner cities in the project, i.e. an activity aimed at disposing of any mercury-containing goods from households.
Life Mercury-Free (Complex Awareness Raising and Behaviour Change for the Mercury-Free City Environment – LIFE21-GIE-PL-LIFE MERCURY-FREE) is an environmentally friendly project on mercury pollutions related to the use of products containing mercury in daily life. This element used to be widely used in the production of numerous household consumer goods. It has physico-chemical properties that facilitate its spread when released into soil, water, etc.
The General Objective of the project is to reduce the environmental contamination by mercury contained in household consumer goods, organise a wide informational and educational campaign and behavioural change activities, and create Mercury-Free City Communities in the cities participating in the project. Four towns with similar characteristics will serve as the project’s test sites: Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk in Ukraine and Lodz and Krakow in Poland. Another three participants will be control cities and replicators of the initial project findings – Larissa (Greece), Evora (Portugal), and Camerino (Italy).
Life Mercury-Free is implemented by a consortium coordinated by Lodz University of Technology. The AGH University is another Polish associate in the project, whereas the following partners represent the remaining cities: Lviv Polytechnic National University (Ukraine), Ivano-Frankivsk Academy Ivana Zolotoustoho (Ukraine), Universidade de Evora (Portugal), Universita Degli Studi di Camerino (Italy). The consortium also includes a Dutch technological company, Virtual Angle BV – a global supplier of integrated ICT systems, and a Greek organisation, Innovation Hive – Kypseli Kainotomias.
The consortium will create a LIFE e-HUB platform to connect all partners as well as a special educational platform.
The letter by the AGH University Vice-Rector for Cooperation, Prof. Rafał Wiśniowski, was read to the gathered at the meeting in Krakow, in which he stressed that the topic addressed by the project fits into the AGH University philosophy and also pointed out that activities related to environmental protection constitute a continuation of Prof. Walery Goetel's work. Prof. Volodymyr Mosorov from Lodz University of Technology presented the framework of the project as well as the work packages awaiting the associates of the consortium. The issues pertaining to the increased mercury levels in the environment were discussed by AGH University Associate Professor Jerzy Górecki. The scientist spoke, among others, about how organisms get contaminated with this dangerous element and discussed the routes by which mercury enters the environment, with a strong emphasis on the role of humans.
The event also touched upon the challenges and solutions related to the waste management policy in such a large city as Krakow. Particular interest was raised by solutions related to the disposal of dangerous waste, potentially containing mercury, for example electronic devices and light bulbs. Krakow’s initiatives, such as the Eco-Box and the on call collection of e-waste, which facilitate the process of disposing of such products, were recognised as good practices that should also be described in the road map being prepared for the elimination of mercury-containing products.
During the meeting, the participants had the opportunity to talk about the solutions applied in their cities and propose educational activities to be applied in partner locations. Associate Professor of the AGH University Marcin Zych was the one to describe the proposals for educational action in Krakow.
Other entities represented during the meeting on November 23–24 were as follows: the Municipal Cleaning Enterprise, the Department of Municipal and Environmental Management of the Municipality of Krakow, but also the Plant for bulk waste disposal.
Participants of the Krakow meeting pictured in the photo.