Strict Environmental Laws Yield Drop in Mercury Levels in Everglades

Mercury levels in the wildlife of the Florida’s Everglades have declined by at least 60 percent over the last decade, according to a study by the state Department of Environmental Protection. The findings were hailed as the first indicator that efforts to reduce mercury pollution are paying off. The drop in mercury levels is largely due to federal and state laws that require reductions in emissions from waste incinerators, which give off the toxic element when they burn plastic and other substances. Even with the declining levels, some 2 million acres of the Everglades remain under fish-consumption advisories because of the high degree of mercury contamination. Happily, that is likely to change, according to the study, which predicted a 90 percent reduction in mercury levels in 30 years.