The continuing contamination, daily quiet is much more severe than occasionally splashing the pages of newspapers. Supertanker accidents (Exxon Valdex, Aegean …), industrial plants (plant biocide of multinational Union Carbide in Bhopal, India) are small when compared with the amounts of pollutants are discharged annually by industrialized country.
These are the six pillars on which rests the entire industrial economy and therefore the main sources of the pollutants described above. The data relating to Spain, from official estimates of the decade 80-89.
- Oil refining
Ten establishments that have occurred over the decade an average of 36 million tons. This has an energy expenditure of 1.5 million megawatts, damaging 360 million m3 of water per year (almost 8 times the annual flow of the river Manzanares), emitted into the atmosphere 150,000 tons of anhydrous sulfuric acid and 17,000 of nitrogen oxides ( equivalent to 19 tons of pollution every year in hours). Do not forget that the fate of the production of this sector is also polluting: the burning of oil multiplied by hundreds atmospheric corrosion.- Iron Steel
There are 230 establishments that produce 50 million tons annually. This could not have consumed 7.5 million megawatt-hours and 6,250 million m3 of water per year, and have issued 450,000 tons of pollutants (including 200,000 of SO2). The latter involves the emission of 51 tons each of hours each year.
- Thermal electricity
An average of 150 plants have produced about 70 million megawatts per year, burning 12 million tons of coal, anthracite 4 million, 22 million lignite, fuel 2 million and 2 million m3 of gas. Which is settled with more than 2 million tons of air pollutants: partile 341,000 of solid SO2 1,610,000 and 186,000 of nitrogen oxide. Ie, 4 tons of pollutants per minute and 36 m3 of water per second refrigeration per 1,000 megawatt hours.
- Cement and related
About 300 factories that produce 30 million tons annually spent up to 3 million megawatts, so many tons of coal, 150,000 tons of fuel and 15,000 liters of petrol and diesel. Some analysts put at 500,000 tons per year of particulate matter emitted by these industries, accompanied by 50,000 tons of SO2 and 11,000 of nitrogen oxides.
- Pulp mills, paper and cardboard
Running the 180 seriously degrade 87’5 million m3 of water (2,700 liters per second) by pouring some 2.3 million tonnes of organochlorines. They also emit 31,000 tons of particulate matter, 50,000 and 12,000 of NOx SO2. All this to produce 3.5 million tons of pulp and the like with an energy expenditure of nearly 3 million megawatt-hours and 72,123 tons of coal, not to mention the nefarious influence of industry on forest policy (monoculture pine and eucalyptus, reclassification of protected areas) or “consumption” of forest that involves every ton of pulp produced.
- The chemical
The set corresponds to the chemical industry as much as 30% of the 2,000,000 tons of hazardous waste generated in Spain.
The automobile industry deserves a place among the most polluting industries. The Spanish automobile sector during the eighties as an annual average, used and contaminated 575 million m3 of water and consumed 1.5 million megawatt, 7,000 and 114,000 tons of coal fuel oil to produce an average of 1,150,000 units, machines designed to not exceed an average of 3,000 hours of life and energy efficiency with no more than 10% responsible for 20% CO2 and 34% of nitrogen oxides emitted into the atmosphere. In addition, the automobile is the main target of synthetic paints, generating most dangerous toxic waste after radioactive.
An example: the Mediterranean is not a sewer
The countries bordering the Mediterranean with a population of 132 million inhabitants in the coastal zone, which number about 100 million tourists in the summer months. The high volume of sewage is facing a poor clearance structure. The result is that between 70 and 85% of urban sewage is dumped untreated. The excess nitrates and phosphates cause algal blooms generated. The subsequent decomposition of the mass of algae by bacterial action consume large amounts of oxygen and affects the whole marine ecosystem.
More than 200 petrochemical and energy, oil drilling, refineries, power plants, chemical and chlorine plants bordering the sea and use it as toxic waste dump. The Spanish paper industry alone is responsible for the annual discharge of 15,000 tonnes of organochlorine residues. Given these figures at all strange that the death of dolphins in the Mediterranean, seen in 1990, was associated with weakened immune systems caused by high levels of organochlorines measured in their bodies. Another major source of pollution is the agrochemical, only in the coastal regions are used annually more than 500,000 tons of nitrogenous fertilizers and nearly 200,000 of phosphorus.
But the head of the discharge is still oil and its derivatives, with 635,000 tons per year (one fifth of the world total) for the entire basin, from routine operations of refinery and tank cleaning and deliberate dumping accidental or from vessels (oil Haven, Gulf of Genoa, 1991). Currently there are 116 platforms installed, for every 1,000 tons of oil extracted pour 100 kg. the sea. The last meeting of the United Nations Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution (Barcelona Convention) has failed in his task, reaching the tepid commitment to “progressive reduction by 2005.”
The toxic industry
In Spain the amount of hazardous waste produced is 2 million tons, of which 80%, as recognized by the Minister of Public Works, Tourism and Environment, Josep Borrell in 1992, not under any control . Each inhabitant of Spain, we played 50 kg. per year of pure lethal chemical, waste from the manufacture of solvents, synthetic paints, coatings, biocides, paper … Quantity qualitatively more dangerous than 3,250,000 tons of sulfur dioxide receiving atmosphere year for much that is primarily responsible for acid rain, toxic waste because its lethality keep up tiny doses throughout the decades.
These residues are always linked to toxic industrial production systems, which cause many problems and risks of contamination:
- Hazardous contamination
Only part of the toxic substances used and generated during industrial processes is in the form of toxic waste. According to the U.S. Administration in 1991 the industries of this country issued at least 1’53 million tons of over 300 toxic substances into the environment. About 60% went to the atmosphere controls air emissions are less stringent in Spain, MOPTMA has stated that the sewer may be the main type of emission of toxic waste.
- Exposure of workers
The cabinet occupational health union Workers Commissions (CCOO) estimates that over a million and half of workers are exposed to carcinogenic substances in Spain. In the U.S., some estimates speak of between 30,000 and 90,000 workers died of cancer in 1992 as a result of exposure to carcinogens in the workplace.
- Population exposure
Caused by air emissions, spills, leaks, leaks …
- Accidents in factories and in transport
According to Civil Protection between 1987 and 1993 there were 23 accidents “major” industries Spains. The most recent escape of chlorine gas in the Erkimia factory in Flix, Tarragona.
- Consumer exposure
The toxic substances used by industries are incorporated into consumer goods and building materials. When using these assets and their subsequent management as waste, these toxic substances are released into the environment damaging public health and the environment. Paints, varnishes, cleaning products and disinfectants, wood preservatives, adhesives, plastics, etc., contain substances such as toluene, xylene, chloroform or heavy metals that also pose a risk to the health of consumers.
The origin of the special waste and emissions of toxic substances is none other than the use of toxic raw materials and processes in industrial production.