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The aim of this paper is to describe industrial air and water …


Biology Articles » Toxicology » Description of industrial pollution in Spain » Results

Results
- Description of industrial pollution in Spain

At the date of study, the EPER-Spain contained information on 1,437 plants or industrial installations. Registry data showed that a total of 1,250 plants released pollutant substances to air, 133 direct to water and 164 indirect to water, and that some of these plants discharged substances into both air and water.

Industrial plants shown by the EPER to discharge pollutant substances into air in Spain, and associated industrial activities

Most of the reported industries were situated in the Autonomous Regions of Aragon, 425 (34%), Andalusia, 208 (17%) and Catalonia, 190 (15%). Industrial activities registering the greatest number of plants were: 'Manure management. Installations devoted to the rearing of poultry and pigs' (723 industries); 'Manufacture of plaster, asphalt, concrete, cement, glass, fibres, bricks, tiles or ceramic products (mineral product industry involving fuel combustion)' (136 industries); and 'Enteric fermentation. Installations devoted to the rearing of poultry and pigs' (75 industries).

Industrial plants shown by the EPER to discharge pollutant substances directly into water in Spain, and associated industrial activities

The industrial plants registered were mainly situated in Catalonia, 26 (20%), the Basque Country, 23 (18%) and Andalusia, 22 (17%). Industrial activities having the highest number of associated plants were: 'Manufacture of paper, pulp and paper products' (25 industries); 'Manufacture of basic organic chemical products' (19 industries); and 'Manufacture of basic inorganic chemical products or fertilizers' (14 industries).

Industrial plants shown by the EPER to discharge pollutant substances indirectly into water (via sewage treatment plants) in Spain, and associated industrial activities

The industrial plants were mostly situated in Catalonia, 50 (31%), the Basque Country, 31 (19%) and Andalusia, 18 (11%). Industrial activities having the highest number of associated plants were: 'Manufacture of food products and beverages (in slaughterhouses, plants for the production of milk and other animal or vegetable raw materials)' (33 industries); 'Surface treatment of metals and plastics (metal industries and metal ore roasting or sintering installations. Installations for the production of ferrous and non-ferrous metals)' (29 industries); and 'Manufacture of basic organic chemical products' (24 industries).

Table 1 lists the individual air pollutants and the industrial activities associated with these.

Table 2 shows pollution released in 2001, with a breakdown in quantitative terms for each of the three pollution groups (emissions to air, direct to water and indirect to water) and by pollutant group. The results refer to total emissions for Spain, highlighting the Autonomous Regions with the highest emissions for the respective pollutant groups and their percentages relative to the overall figure.

Table 3 gives a detailed description of industrial air pollution in Spain in 2001, as reflected by the EPER, with a breakdown by specific pollutant. While the rows show information relating to the pollutants, the columns reflect the statutory reporting thresholds for the respective pollutant emissions, information for Spain as a whole (total emissions, number of plants that release substances, and mean emission per plant) and information on the Autonomous Regions that registered the highest emission values for each of the pollutants (total emissions, number of plants, and mean emission per plant). The thresholds in the first column of pollutants provide a crude idea of the relative toxicity or importance of the substance. Tables 4 and 5 display the same information as Table 3, but with reference to direct and indirect emissions to water respectively.

Insofar as the pollutant groups were concerned, Table 2 shows that air received the most group-1 pollutants (environmental themes), with the high emissions of carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide being especially noteworthy in terms of mass (Table 3). In contrast to air, water – both directly and indirectly – received more group-5 pollutants (Other compounds) (Table 2), chlorides in particular (Tables 4 and 5).

Figure 1 shows the geographic distribution of the foci or industrial plants for some carcinogenic pollutants. In the case of air pollutants, the IARC has classified arsenic, benzene, cadmium and chromium as carcinogens (group 1), trichloroethylene as a probable carcinogen (group 2A), and dichloromethane as a possible carcinogen (group 2B). In the case of pollutants discharged direct to water, lead and nickel, both of which have been classified as possible carcinogens by the IARC, are shown [13].

Figure 1Geographic distribution of industrial foci, by specific pollutant.

Finally, Figure 2 sets out the percentage emissions recorded by the EPER-Europe of pollutant substances released into the air in the European Union (for 2001). With respect to Spain, note should be taken of the percentage emissions of hexachlorobenzene substances (Spain accounting for 100% of reported emissions), and chromium, nickel and zinc (Spain accounting for around 40% of reported European emissions).

Figure 2 Percentage emissions of pollutant substances released to air in the European Union.


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