It is a known fact that the chunks of Arctic, if melted, will release very strong greenhouse gases. Scientists said that along with the gases it might also release mercury in huge amounts. It is a powerful neurotoxin and can cause serious health concerns.
The frozen soil of Arctic behaves as a huge ice trap that constricts the carbon in the ground and cut from the atmosphere. If it is released as carbon dioxide, this greenhouse gas will contribute to global warming in a great way.
Nature is responsible for this phenomenon; however, humans contribute in a great way to enhance the temperature of the climate. This promotes the thawing of the permafrost, leading to the release of carbon. The microbes are also becoming highly active which is breaking down the ancient flora which had been preserved in the frozen earth. This situation will worsen the situation of the global warming leading to more thawing of the Arctic.
The burning of coal releases a massive amount of mercury, which has already harmed the atmosphere immensely. Hence, the further addition of this element in the atmosphere will lead to more damage.
To understand the seriousness of the situation, the scientists published a study in a journal named Geographical Research Letters. They wrote that 32 million gallons of mercury is trapped in the permafrost of Arctic. This is equivalent to 50 swimming pools of Olympic. They had further added that the amount is twice the amount of the total mercury present on the soils of the rest of the world, including the oceans.
As per Kevin Schaefer, with the thawing of the permafrost, the mercury will start releasing into the environment. This will tremendously affect the food supplies and people, with unknown impact.
However, the amount of mercury released will be dependent on the amount of thawing. One such example is the consumption of fishes that are enriched with mercury.