Canada’s Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory Report 2020: chapter 2.9

2.9 Mercury (Hg)

Approximately 3.1 t of Hg were emitted in Canada in 2018 (Table 2–11). Ore and mineral industries accounted for 43% (1.3 t) of Hg emissions in 2018, with iron and steel industries contributing 19% (0.60 t) of the annual total. Electric power generation (utilities) accounted also for 19% (0.59 t) of 2018 emissions, most of which were emitted from coal-powered electric generation (18% of annual total, 0.57 t). Incineration and waste sources accounted for 15% (0.46 t) of Hg emissions in 2018, with crematoriums being the largest contributor at 9% (0.29 t).

Between 1990 and 2018, Hg emissions decreased by 91% (31 t) (Figure 2–9). This decrease in emissions is mainly due to a large drop in emissions from the non-ferrous refining and smelting industry. As with lead and cadmium emissions, reductions in mercury emissions coincide with the closure of outdated smelters, the implementation of pollution prevention plans and, to a smaller extent, with increased emission control measures, such as separation or changing of production materials, improved particulate matter emission controls and fuel switching (ECCC, 2017).

Emission reductions from electric power generation (utilities) are largely due to the closure of coal-fired electricity generation facilities and from the addition of mercury controls to plants. For the Incineration and Waste categories, decreases in emissions resulted from a reduction of Hg in products, such as dental amalgams and mercury-containing lamps, going into the waste stream.

The most significant changes in Hg emissions from 1990 to 2018 include:

Figure 2–9: Major contributors to national Hg trends

Figure 2-9 (See long description below)
Long description for Figure 2–9

Figure 2–9 is a stacked area graph displaying the five major contributors to national Hg trends. The five contributors are the following: Non-Ferrous Refining and Smelting Industry, Waste Treatment and Disposal, Coal (Electric Power Generation), Iron and Steel Industry, and Other. The following table displays the contributions (t) for the years 1990 to 2018.

Figure 2–9: Major contributors to national Hg trends (t)
Sector 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sector 1 - Non-Ferrous Refining and Smelting Industry 25 25 25 10 8.3 4.6 5.7 3.4 2.8 2.3 1.9 2.1 1.7 1.3 1.9 1.7 1.3 1.4 1.0 0.83 0.54 0.21 0.25 0.36 0.29 0.18 0.22 0.14 0.20
Sector 2 - Waste Treatment and Disposal 1.8 1.8 1.9 1.9 1.9 2.1 0.85 0.87 0.70 0.70 0.69 0.67 0.67 0.53 0.54 0.49 0.49 0.50 0.51 0.16 0.15 0.15 0.14 0.13 0.13 0.12 0.11 0.11 0.10
Sector 3 - Coal (Electric Power Generation) 1.9 1.8 2.1 1.9 1.9 1.9 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.3 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.3 2.2 2.0 1.9 2.1 1.5 1.6 1.5 0.91 0.81 0.80 0.66 0.68 0.63 0.61 0.57
Sector 4 - Iron and Steel Industry 0.72 0.73 0.74 0.75 0.74 0.75 0.76 0.81 0.83 0.84 0.80 0.79 0.85 0.91 0.86 0.86 0.78 0.73 0.72 0.60 0.67 0.62 0.66 0.69 0.68 0.64 0.68 0.61 0.61
Sector 5 - Other 4.9 5.0 4.9 4.8 4.8 4.7 5.8 5.5 4.4 4.1 4.5 3.7 3.6 3.5 3.2 3.0 2.9 3.2 3.4 2.4 2.3 2.1 1.8 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.6 1.5 1.6

Table 2–11: National summary of annual Hg emissions

Ore and Mineral Industries (kg)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 26 000 3 400 2 900 1 500 1 400 1 300 1 400 1 200 1 300
Aluminium Industry 17 32 43 21 19 21 21 22 24
Asphalt Paving Industry 24 22 22 20 23 19 19 18 18
Cement and Concrete Industry 450 390 210 310 300 380 340 330 300
Foundries 210 120 4 -* - - - - -
Iron and Steel Industry 720 800 860 690 680 640 680 610 610
Iron Ore Industry 60 60 50 100 74 72 72 70 73
Mineral Products Industry - - - - - - - - -
Mining and Rock Quarrying 12 12 29 8.6 20 20 16 19 110
Non-Ferrous Refining and Smelting Industry 25 000 1 900 1 700 360 290 180 220 140 200
Oil and Gas Industry (kg)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 120 61 83 120 89 74 81 70 74
Downstream Oil and Gas Industry 110 26 46 48 46 49 53 47 50
Upstream Oil and Gas Industry 3.0 36 38 68 44 25 28 22 24
Electric Power Generation (Utilities) (kg)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 2 200 2 000 2 200 850 710 730 670 630 590
Coal 1 900 2 000 2 000 800 660 680 630 610 570
Diesel -* - - - - - - - -
Natural Gas 12 22 27 23 19 26 11 0.01 2.1
Waste Materials - - 0.03 0.03 0.11 0.92 0.49 0.12 0.32
Other (Electric Power Generation) 290 62 91 23 28 26 30 17 22
Manufacturing (kg)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 1 100 1 400 510 110 100 110 120 100 110
Abrasives Manufacturing -* - - - - - - - -
Bakeries - - - - - - - - -
Biofuel Production - - - - - - - - -
Chemicals Industry 170 81 58 17 18 15 17 17 18
Electronics 400 760 60 3.9 3.5 4.3 15 11 7.8
Food Preparation - - 0.30 - - - - - -
Glass Manufacturing 28 28 21 - - - - - -
Grain Industry - - - - - - - - -
Metal Fabrication 16 17 17 7.5 - - - - -
Plastics Manufacturing - - - - - - - - -
Pulp and Paper Industry 93 130 58 50 60 70 71 58 59
Textiles - - - - - - - - -
Vehicle Manufacturing (Engines, Parts, Assembly, Painting) - - 0.02 - - - - - -
Wood Products 260 190 89 31 18 17 16 13 25
Other (Manufacturing) 130 170 210 - - - - 0.00 0.56
Transportation and Mobile Equipment (kg)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 110 100 100 74 68 57 51 58 60
Air Transportation -* - - - - - - - -
Heavy-duty Diesel Vehicles 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Heavy-duty Gasoline Vehicles 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Heavy-duty LPG/NG Vehicles 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Light-duty Diesel Trucks 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Light-duty Diesel Vehicles 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Light-duty Gasoline Trucks 0.00 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01
Light-duty Gasoline Vehicles 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01
Light-duty LPG/NG Trucks 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Light-duty LPG/NG Vehicles 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Marine Transportation 4.3 6.2 7.2 3.3 2.1 0.58 0.54 0.51 0.47
Motorcycles 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Off-Road Diesel Vehicles and Equipment - - - - - - - - -
Off-Road Gasoline/LPG/NG Vehicles and Equipment - - - - - - - - -
Rail Transportation 100 98 95 71 66 57 51 58 59
Tire Wear and Brake Lining - - - - - - - - -
Agriculture (kg)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 2.8 3.4 3.2 11 11 10 10 10 9.0
Animal Production -* - - - - - - - -
Crop Production - - - - - - - - -
Fuel Use 2.8 3.4 3.2 11 11 10 10 10 9.0
Commercial / Residential / Institutional (kg)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 1 100 800 760 590 570 520 480 480 470
Cigarette Smoking1 0.21 0.18 0.14 0.11 0.11 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.10
Commercial and Institutional Fuel Combustion 47 62 63 54 58 55 55 59 61
Commercial Cooking -* - - - - - - - -
Construction Fuel Combustion 2.6 1.7 2.6 2.2 2.1 2.2 2.2 2.2 2.4
Home Firewood Burning 54 48 40 41 40 40 40 40 40
Human1 110 24 18 6.9 5.2 3.5 1.8 1.8 1.8
Marine Cargo Handling - - 2.8 - - - - - -
Residential Fuel Combustion 64 76 75 76 80 75 67 71 80
Service Stations - - - - - - - - -
Other (Miscellaneous) 820 590 560 410 380 340 310 300 290
Incineration and Waste (kg)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 3 200 2 200 1 500 470 520 470 470 460 460
Crematoriums 100 140 180 240 260 260 270 280 290
Waste Incineration 1 300 1 300 840 100 140 85 81 69 67
Waste Treatment and Disposal 1 800 690 490 130 130 120 110 110 100
Paints and Solvents (kg)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total -* - - - - - - - -
Dry Cleaning - - - - - - - - -
General Solvent Use - - - - - - - - -
Printing - - - - - - - - -
Surface Coatings - - - - - - - - -
Dust (kg)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total -* - - - - - - - -
Coal Transportation - - - - - - - - -
Construction Operations - - - - - - - - -
Mine Tailings - - - - - - - - -
Paved Roads - - - - - - - - -
Unpaved Roads - - - - - - - - -
Fires (kg)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total -* - - - - - - - -
Prescribed Burning - - - - - - - - -
Structural Fires - - - - - - - - -
Totals (kg)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Ore and Mineral Industries 26 000 3 400 2 900 1 500 1 400 1 300 1 400 1 200 1 300
Oil and Gas Industry 120 61 83 120 89 74 81 70 74
Electric Power Generation (Utilities) 2 200 2 000 2 200 850 710 730 670 630 590
Manufacturing 1 100 1 400 510 110 100 110 120 100 110
Transportation and Mobile Equipment 110 100 100 74 68 57 51 58 60
Agriculture 2.8 3.4 3.2 11 11 10 10 10 9.0
Commercial / Residential / Institutional 1 100 800 760 590 570 520 480 480 470
Incineration and Waste 3 200 2 200 1 500 470 520 470 470 460 460
Paints and Solvents -* - - - - - - - -
Dust - - - - - - - - -
Fires - - - - - - - - -
Grand Total 34 000 9 900 8 100 3 700 3 500 3 300 3 300 3 000 3 100

Notes:

Totals may not add up due to rounding.

1. Cigarette Smoking as well as Infant Diapered Waste (which is included within the Human sector) are being considered for removal from future inventories. If you have any questions, please contact us at ec.iepa-apei.ec@canada.ca or 1-877-877-8375.

* - = no emission

0.00 Indicates emissions truncated due to rounding

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