Explanation of Key Trends - Persistent Organic Pollutants

Last updated on 24 Jan 2013 17:05 by Kevin Hausmann

Please note: Data for persistent organic pollutants may have issues such as missing sources. It features considerably higher uncertainties then data for other pollutants covered in this report. Read more...

Obligations

The 1998 Aarhus Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants under the CLRTAP entered into force late in 2003. It focuses on a list of 16 substances that have been singled out according to agreed risk criteria. The substances comprise eleven pesticides, two industrial chemicals and three by-products/contaminants. The ultimate objective is to eliminate any discharges, emissions and losses of POPs. The Protocol bans the production and use of some products outright (aldrin, chlordane, chlordecone, dieldrin, endrin, hexabromobiphenyl, mirex and toxaphene). Others are scheduled for elimination at a later stage (DDT, heptachlor, hexaclorobenzene, PCBs). Finally, the Protocol severely restricts the use of DDT, HCH (including lindane) and PCBs. The Protocol includes provisions for dealing with the wastes of products that will be banned. It also obliges Germany to reduce its emissions of dioxins, furans, PAHs and HCB below their levels in 1990. For the incineration of municipal, hazardous and medical waste, it lays down specific limit values.

Main drivers

Persistent organic pollutants give a mixed picture both in terms of development and sources. While most POP emissions decreased by 40 to 90% between 1990 and 2010, Benzo(b|j|k)fluoranthene emissions are 30% higher now, whereas HCHs (lindane etc.) were banned and totally faded out by 1998.

As for sources, some pollutants stick mainly to one category, e.g. benzo(a)pyrene and PAHs to Residential Fuel Combustion (NFR 1.A.4.b), PCBs to Metal Production (NFR 2.C), or benzo(b|k)fluoranthene to Transport (NFR 1.A.3). Others appear all over the place in NFR 1 & 2, e.g. dioxins.

Trends

The figure below shows mixed trends for persistent organic pollutants1:

The table below depicts the persistent organic pollutants emission trends (please note pollutant specific units!):

Pollutant Unit 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Benzo(a)pyrene [Mg] 138.2 101.7 74.6 69.8 59.7 47.5 44.2 41.5 35.0 32.6
Benzo(b|k)fluoranthene [kg] 26.6 28.1 28.8 29.3 30.0 30.7 31.2 31.7 32.4 33.3
Indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene [kg] 5,287.3 4,728.8 4,433.1 3,638.0 3,290.7 3,345.9 3,214.2 3,239.0 3,100.2 2,587.0
PAH Total [Mg] 374.0 284.9 215.6 199.4 172.9 162.7 153.5 176.2 163.2 159.6
HCH [Mg] 60.2 63.7 36.9 23.5 18.5 13.1 18.5 14.5 0.0 0.0
PCBs [kg] 1,672.0 1,696.5 1,678.0 1,670.1 1,670.5 1,536.4 1,304.1 1,344.9 1,279.8 1,164.9
PCDD/ PCDF [g I-TEQ] 747.3 622.2 492.9 363.8 243.7 229.4 206.2 196.9 184.1 165.5
HCB [kg] 5.3 5.2 5.0 5.0 4.7 4.5 4.3 4.6 4.5 4.6
Pollutant Unit 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Benzo(a)pyrene [Mg] 30.2 31.2 27.7 25.7 23.1 23.0 24.2 22.9 25.4 26.9
Benzo(b|k)fluoranthene [kg] 33.5 34.1 34.6 34.4 35.0 34.2 34.6 35.0 34.9 34.7
Indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene [kg] 2,751.2 2,196.5 2,185.0 2,365.2 2,556.0 2,536.1 2,528.2 2,549.7 2,491.2 2,048.6
PAH Total [Mg] 155.8 165.6 156.0 154.6 146.7 144.1 150.4 144.7 157.8 166.2
HCH [kg] 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
PCBs [kg] 1,071.4 883.6 711.6 544.4 203.7 206.3 216.1 221.1 224.6 206.5
PCDD/ PCDF [g I-TEQ] 151.6 131.2 109.8 92.3 69.2 68.7 70.3 70.6 71.4 61.4
HCB [kg] 4.4 4.2 3.8 3.4 3.0 3.0 3.1 3.1 3.2 3.2
Pollutant Unit 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Benzo(a)pyrene [Mg] 31.1
Benzo(b|k)fluoranthene [kg] 35.1
Indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene [kg] 2,468.8
PAH Total [Mg] 191.5
HCH [kg] 0.0
PCBs [kg] 228.7
PCDD/ PCDF [g I-TEQ] 67.7
HCB [kg] 3.5
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