Lankan dentists go green

More than 100 dental clinics in Colombo will participate in a "Go Green' project aiming for zero environmental effect from dental dangerous waste containing mercury. Amalgam separators will soon be installed at the clinics collecting 99 per cent of the amalgam which contains mercury. Sweden Recycling AB, a Swedish environmental oriented company, with financial assistance from the Swedish organisation SIDA, is spearheading this project to reduce the mercury waste coming from dental clinics in Sri Lanka. With this project, Sri Lanka will be the first country in Asia to move towards a safe recycling of dental dangerous waste. Installing amalgam separators will evidence that mercury waste can be reduced instantly. Awarness of the positive effects on the evironment and the benefit of this to humans is expected to lead to a wider use of amalgam separators both on a national and international level. The Sri Lanka Dental Association with 1,500 dentist members, together with Sweden Recycling is offering dental clinics to participate in a subsidised project where dangerous waste will be collected and recycled. Sweden Recycling has during the last 25 years successfully reduced the amount of mercury finding its way into nature, polluting the environment in Nordic countries. In Sweden, more than 500 kg of mercury is yearly recovered by Sweden Recycling from the dental sector. Mercury is a heavy metal which posses the most severe threat to nature and to human beings through pollution caused by inadequate handling of mercury contaminated waste. Dental clinics generally represent approximately 50 per cent of the total amount of mercury being wasted into nature and polluting the environment for decades. Amalgam waste, and thus mercury being its main ingredience in the dental amalgam, has to be collected at source (the dental clinic) according to the mercury strategy adopted by the European Parliament. In Asia pollution caused by mercury waste is not restricted like in Europe and the amalgam pollution continues. Teeth repair with amalgam fillings continue to be the main method for dental proffesionals. Since there is no collection in Asia of waste containing mercury and recovery of mercury the impact of the waste is massive. Many inhabitants in Asia have fish as their most important daily food and the fish is prone to be contaminated by mercury in the water. Mercury will thus be transferred to man and accumulated in the human body with well-known lethal effects. Inducting amalgam separators in dental clinics is thus a big step towards a cleaner environment and consequently less polluted food.