Application of national pollutant inventories for monitoring trends on dioxin emissions from stationary industrial sources in Australia, Canada and European Union

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Industrial sources, including iron ore sintering, municipal waste incineration and non-ferrous metal processing have been prominent emitters of dioxins to the environment. With the expanding industrial sectors, many international conventions were established in order to reduce the emission of dioxins in the past two decades. The Stockholm convention, a global monitoring treaty, entered into force in 2004 with the aim to promote development of strategies to reduce or eliminate dioxin emissions. According to the convention, parties are required to develop national inventory databases to report emission levels and develop a national implementation plan (NIP) to reduce further dioxin emissions. In order to understand the trend of dioxin emissions since 1990s this study provides a comparative assessment of dioxin emissions from different industrial sources by deriving emission data from the national inventory databases of Australia, Canada and the 28 European countries (EU-28). According to the data collected, iron and steel production and electricity generation were the highest emitters of dioxins in 2017 for Europe, Canada and Australia, when compared to other stationary industrial sources. The change in the trend of dioxin emissions from the iron and steel industry and the public electricity sector was also assessed. The emission of dioxins during 1990–2017 from both iron and steel production and electricity generation revealed a relative decreasing trend, except for Spain and Italy who showed higher level of emissions from iron and steel production in 2017. Furthermore, comparing emission data for metal production revealed that the blast furnace process was the prominent emitter of dioxins comparing to electric arc furnace process. Further investigation was performed to compare the amount of dioxin emitted from three different fuel types, black coal, brown coal and natural gas, used for electricity generation in Australia. The study showed that dioxin emissions from brown coal were higher than black coal for the last two years, while power production from natural gas emits the lowest amounts of dioxins to the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0224328
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2019


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