Trade-induced atmospheric mercury deposition over China and implications for demand-side controls

Long Chen, Jing Meng, Sai Liang, Haoran Zhang, Wei Zhang, Maodian Liu, Yindong Tong, Huanhuan Wang, Wei Wang, Xuejun Wang, Jiong Shu

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Mercury (Hg) is of global concern because of its adverse effects on humans and the environment. In addition to long-range atmospheric transport, Hg emissions can be geographically relocated through economic trade. Here, we investigate the effect of China’s interregional trade on atmospheric Hg deposition over China, using an atmospheric transport model and multiregional input-output analysis. In general, total atmospheric Hg deposition over China is 408.8 Mg yr-1, and 32% of this is embodied in China’s interregional trade, with the hotspots occurring over Gansu, Henan, Hebei, and Yunnan provinces. Interprovincial trade considerably redistributes atmospheric Hg deposition over China, with a range in deposition flux from −104% to +28%. Developed regions, such as the Yangtze River Delta (Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang) and Guangdong, avoid Hg deposition over their geographical boundaries, instead causing additional Hg deposition over developing provinces. Bilateral interaction among provinces is strong over some regions, suggesting a need for joint mitigation, such as the Jing-Jin-Ji region (Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei) and the Yangtze River Delta. Transferring advanced technology from developed regions to their developing trade partners would be an effective measure to mitigate China’s Hg pollution. Our findings are relevant to interprovincial efforts to reduce trans-boundary Hg pollution in China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2036–2045
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number4
Early online date12 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2018

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