Major pollutants

Two of the most damaging pollutants in our environment are mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

The challenge with mercury - a natural element whose unique properties have been harnessed by humans for centuries - is to ensure levels in our environment do not exceed what would be expected from natural processes.

Although the Government of Canada made import, manufacture or sale of PCBs illegal in 1977, the challenge now is to speed up the pace of destruction of existing PCBs.

Find out what Environment Canada is doing to manage and eliminate these major pollutants.

  • Learn about major pollutants and toxic substances and what Environment Canada is doing to reduce and eliminate them.
  • Many pollutants come from human activity - find out how the Government of Canada balances the everyday needs of Canadians with environmental protection goals.
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