#MakeMercuryHistory

The ability to establish a solid and sustainable future for any company must begin with how to impact the way one works along with how to impact the way we live. This progressive approach promotes optimal overall growth while ensures that the goal for a sustainable society stays relevant and is attainable.

As we take the COVID-19 pandemic into consideration, we must look to rearticulate our attitude towards the concept of sustainability. We can take a page from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) where we aim to educate, transform and inspire.

Since its inception, OTSAW has carefully laid a foundation with its three pillars for sustainability:

  • Social development
  • Environmental protection
  • Economic development

Beginning with the initial conceptualization for what would be most ideal and effective in an autonomous disinfection robot, OTSAW carefully reviewed how the world continues to rely on the use of mercury for UV-C light disinfection. Understanding the damaging and toxic effects of mercury on both humans and the environment, OTSAW introduced the O-RX, the world’s first autonomous disinfection robot using UV-C LED which requires no mercury. Not only is the O-RX cleaner, safer, and more effective, but it also ushers in a new era where mercury is not necessary to power UV-C disinfection bulbs and lamps.

Disinfection robot using UV-C light
The OTSAW O-RX uses UV-C LEDs for disinfection, which contain no mercury.

Mercury and Health

Did you know that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), mercury is on its list of 10 chemicals of major health concern?

We have known for decades that mercury is extremely toxic to humans and can severely affect the development of a child in utero and early in life. Furthermore, mercury has been proven to damage the nervous, digestive and immune systems including vital organs such as lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes.

The most common method of mercury exposure is through inhalation of its vapours during industrial processes as well as through consumption from contaminated fish and shellfish. In recent years, governing bodies have continued to educate and intervene through various channels including:

  • eliminating the use of mercury production in the mining and industry
  • promoting the use of clean energy sources which do not rely on fossil fuels and coal
  • switching to non-mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers in health care
  • implementing safe handling, use and disposal of mercury-containing products and waste.

What is the #MinamataConvention

The Minamata Convention is named after an industrial bay in Japan where a factory producing acetic acid discharged large volumes of waste liquid into the waters. Between 1932 to 1968, the continuous release of this toxic waste included high concentrations of methyl-mercury and poisoned up to 50,000 people, ultimately leading to severe health damage that became known as “Minamata disease”. This disease peaked in the 1950s, with severe cases suffering brain damage, paralysis, incoherent speech and delirium.

Mercury is a naturally occurring element which can be found in many everyday objects. Through the Convention, the entire life cycle of mercury can be tackled to #MakeMercuryHistory.

In solidarity with the Minamata Convention on Mercury from the UN Environment Programme, OTSAW and other leading technology companies have aligned their commercial focus towards a more sustainable future. These forward-thinking companies truly believe that this international treaty will lead the way to protect and preserve human health and the environment by working towards eliminating the use of mercury in commercial and industrial processes.

Mercury is E-waste

Every year, as much as 9,000 tons of mercury are released into the atmosphere, water and land. Numerous government bodies have already signed a treaty to phase out the use of non-essential mercury-containing products and implement the safe handling and disposal of remaining mercury-containing products.

Many everyday products that use mercury include:

  • batteries
  • measuring devices, such as thermometers and barometers
  • electric switches and relays in equipment
  • lamps (including UV-C lights)
  • dental amalgam (for dental fillings)
  • skin-lightening products and other cosmetics
  • various pharmaceutical products
Lamps (including UV-C lights) contain mercury, posing an environmental hazard when disposed of.

To compound the situation, when e-waste is disposed and incinerated, the by-product results in a loss of resources while emitting high volumes of carbon-rich waste that contributes to an ever-growing concern of global warming and climate change.

OTSAW realises the widening landscape of various challenges ahead and has subsequently shifted its value system to prioritize sustainability and protection of the environment. OTSAW understands that we must all take a proactive approach to successfully work together to solve this current environmental dilemma that society and the human population has failed to acknowledge and properly address for too long. The time is now to make a change, and it begins with actively making the effort to abstain from using mercury and its related products.

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