Monday, February 12, 2007

House of Mystery Around Mercury

Mercury is one of those proverbial bad elements, right up there with lead with the amount of documented badness to the environment. So why is it that Canada (along with the US and India) refuses to support a global ban on mercury pollution? It's a regular House of Mystery.

I did some research into this to solve the riddle. Canada is not a big producer of the metal, so there's no economic incentive. They don't process a lot of eWaste, although India does and they are against the ban as well. Aha, how about this. According to the EPA:

The primary sources of mercury to the environment are fossil fuel burning (primarily coal) and solid waste incineration (Nriagu & Pacyna, 1988). Power plants in the U.S., according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are one of the main sources of mercury pollution—48 tons a year.

Good thing the EPA took our power plants off the regulated list for Mercury in March 2005. Maybe Canada plans on burning up a lot of those Athabascan Tar Sands they are developing, generating a lot of mercury vapor in the process, and they don't want to be hypocrites? Sounds plausible to me, could be that's mystery solved.

1 comment:

The Olson's said...

Interesting points.