25 September 2000 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas]The seven new industrial sectors that were required to report their toxic emissions for the first time last year accounted for about two-thirds of the total pollution released into the US environment in 1998, according to a new report.
The 360-page detailed data report on the 1998 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), released Friday by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), provides an in-depth analysis of the national TRI data for both the chemical and other manufacturing industries monitored since 1988, and the seven newly included industrial sectors.
Of the 7.3 billion pounds of toxic pollution released into the environment in 1998, the seven industry groups that reported for the first time accounted for 4.9 billion pounds, or 67.4 percent of the total, according to EPA's more detailed version of the data summary.
Manufacturing facilities that have reported in the past accounted for about 2.4 billion pounds, or 32.6 percent of the total. The report indicates that these facilities released 90 million pounds, or 3.5 percent, less pollution into the environment in 1998 than in 1997.
The chemical industry reported 739 million pounds of releases, a 7.3 percent decline from 1997. Over the 10-year history of the program, chemical manufacturers have reduced their total TRI emissions by 57 percent, compared to 45 percent for all US manufacturing industries.
Under a White House directive in 1997, EPA expanded the TRI to include the seven additional sectors: chemical wholesalers, solvent recovery, petroleum bulk plants and terminals, electric utilities, metal mining, coal mining and hazardous waste management.
An earlier version of the 1998 TRI data issued by EPA in May indicated that of the 4.9 billion pounds of toxic pollutions released by these industries, the hard rock metal mining sector accounted for 3.5 billion pounds, or 71.2 percent.
The TRI program, established by Congress in 1986, requires companies to report quantities of toxic chemicals that their facilities annually release into the air, land and water.
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