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Mercury flows in China and global drivers

CSS Publication Number
Full Publication Date
January 3, 2017

Mercury (Hg) pollution control has become an urgent need at global and national scales. This study, for the first time, comprehensively examines Hg flows in Mainland China and uncovers domestic and external causal drivers of China’s Hg emissions/releases. Results show that China’s Hg input reaches 2643 t in 2010. China discharges 1368 t of Hg to the environment (to air, 633 t; water, 84 t; and land, 651 t). Embedded Hg transfers across production sectors via waste/byproduct flows reduce Hg releases to land, but lead to secondary Hg emissions to air. Such revelations of embedded Hg transfers adjusts China’s comprehensive Hg control that would otherwise only tackle primary emitters. Domestic consumption causes 67% of China’s Hg emissions/releases, and external consumption induces the remaining 33%. Besides traditional production-side Hg control measures, demand-side measures and international joint efforts are required to effectively combat Hg pollution. Uncovering embedded and embodied Hg flows within the global economy can assist a paradigm shift necessary to make real progress in global Hg control and the implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

Fengyang Wang
Hai Yang
Jiming Hao
Lei Zhang
Lixiao Zhang
Manfred Lenzen
Mulin Hui
Qingru Wu
Shuxiao Wang
Thorjorn Larssen
Yafei Wang
Yan Lin
Zhongtian Lin
Research Areas
Urban Systems and Built Environment
Publication Type
Journal Article
Digital Object Identifier
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b04094
Full Citation
Hui, Mulin, Qingru Wu, Shuxiao Wang, Sai Liang, Lei Zhang, Fengyang Wang, Manfred Lenzen, Yafei Wang, Lixiao Xu, Zhongtian Lin, Hai Yang, Yan Lin, Thorjorn Larssen, Ming Xu, and Jiming Hao. (2017) “Mercury flows in China and global drivers.” Environmental Science & Technology, 51(1): 222-231.