The Commission on Environmental Cooperation has released Taking Stock 2005, its latest report on hazardous emissions by North American organizations. This is the second year of data that includes Mexico, as well as Canada and the United States. The data is also now easier to search.
5.5 billion kilograms of toxic pollutant releases and transfers were reported in 2005. Of these, 90% are 30 substances from 15 industrial sectors. The main polluters were:
- Oil and gas extraction activities, primary metals and wastewater treatment in Canada;
- Metal mines, electric utilities and electrical equipment manufacturing in Mexico; and
- Chemicals manufacturing, primary metals and mines in the United States.
This does not include most emissions from the mining and oil sands sectors in Canada, who were ordered by a court to start reporting their pollution, as we mentioned last month. Oil and gas production is also exempt from reporting in the US, and to some extent in Mexico. Even so, one quarter of the total reported emissions came from the petroleum sector. Canadian and US petroleum refineries and bulk storage terminals, alone, release about 7 million kilograms of carcinogens and developmental or reproductive toxicants every year.
Taking Stock compiles data from the three pollutant release and transfer registers (PRTRs) in North America: Canada’s National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI), the United States’ Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), and Mexico’s Registro de Emisiones y Transferencia de Contaminantes (RETC).
The Taking Stock Online website allows users to explore PRTR data for North America with customized reports by pollutant, facility, sector or geographic region. Taking Stock Online also provides interactive mapping of data search results using Google Maps, and features a North America-wide map layer displaying point-specific industrial pollutant data in Canada, Mexico and the United States.
Using the Google Earth mapping service, the CEC’s map layer displays about 35,000 North American industrial facilities that reported releases and transfers of pollutants in 2005.