This paper summarizes the national inventory of mercury release into all media (air, water, land, impurity in products, general wastes and sector specific disposal) from South Korea, using UNEP mercury Toolkit. Total mercury input and release, distribution into different media, major contributors by source categories are discussed. The total quantified mercury release into different phase media was 284.0 t/y and 281.3 t/y in Level 1 and 2 estimation, respectively. Mercury release from primary metal production, waste incineration, extraction and use of fuels/energy sources were dominant. The replacement of output distribution factors in the Toolkit by real data from mass balance study in the anthropogenic sources resulted decrease in the share of mercury emission into air from 20.6% to 9.6%. Comparison of mercury releases into the atmosphere estimated by the Toolkit Level 2 with real distribution factors data and our earlier estimation with measurements in the selected industries showed only a little discrepancy, with reasonable variation. These differences are due to the use of efficient process technology and air pollution control devices. Since most mercury is released in waste and byproducts, recovery and safe storage issues are to be emphasized in the future studies.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Project”. Earlier version of the data is also available in the draft report “National mercury release inventory into different phases media from the Republic of Korea” submitted by our group to NIER which is planning to submit to the UNEP. We thank Gunnar Futsaeter, Program Officer, UNEP Chemi-cals Branch, Switzerland and Jakob Maag, UNEP's international consultant for clarifying the issues related to the Toolkit. National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) and partially supported by the Ministry of Environment Korea under the human resource development project for energy from waste and recycling and as “The Eco-Innovation
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Atmospheric Science