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Mercury losses from the chlor-alkali industry in 2013

Data are available on ODIMS via: https://odims.ospar.org/documents/127

Executive Summary

This report presents the 2013 data on production capacities, atmospheric emissions of mercury, and the amount of mercury in safely deposited wastes. 

The mercury-cell-based chlorine production capacities have further decreased from 2011 to 2013 primarily due to the partial or full conversion of plants to membrane technology and the closing down of plants in Belgium, France and Germany. 

Mercury losses through product, waste water and air have decreased about 28% from 2011 to 2013, continuing the decreasing trend since the mid-1990s. A large part of the decrease is due to the conversion of plants to membrane technology or the shut-down of plants. However, the majority of plants have also managed to further decrease their specific emissions without reducing their mercury-based capacities. 

Full Report

Over the years, atmospheric emissions of mercury have been significantly reduced. Significant reductions are reported from all the relevant countries leading to a total of about a 32% reduction from 2011 to 2013. All plants now comply with the limit value of 2 g Hg/t Cl2 for air emissions in PARCOM Decision 90/3. 

The amount of mercury in safely deposited wastes has increased. Some countries report increases and others decreases but these changes do not necessarily correlate to the shutdown of cells or plants. More detailed information to explain year-to-year differences in the amount of mercury in safely deposited wastes is needed. Altogether the reported figures show clearly the results of the efforts, which have been achieved since 1998. Chlorine production capacity with mercury cells fell by 59% from 1998 to 2013 in the OSPAR maritime area. 

Location and status of mercury-based chlor-alkali plants in the OSPAR Maritime Area in 2013. Available via https://odims.ospar.org/layers/geonode:ospar_chlor_alkali_data_2013_05_001