The need to adopt a  zero discharge policy Dr David Santillo Greenpeace Research Laboratories University of Exeter, UK
What do we mean by  a zero discharge policy? <ul><li>“ The cessation of discharges, emissions and losses of all hazardous ...
What do we mean by  a zero discharge policy? <ul><li>“ The cessation of  discharges, emissions and losses  of all hazardou...
What do we mean by  a zero discharge policy? <ul><li>“ The cessation of discharges, emissions and losses of  all hazardous...
What do we mean by  a zero discharge policy? <ul><li>“ The cessation of discharges, emissions and losses of all hazardous ...
What do we mean by  a zero discharge policy? <ul><li>“ The cessation of discharges, emissions and losses of all hazardous ...
Why zero? Dilute & disperse The solution to pollution is dilution
Why zero? Dilute & disperse Assimilative capacity The solution to pollution is dilution The environment can deal with our ...
Assimilative Capacity “ The ability of a body of water to cleanse itself” “ Its capacity to receive waste waters or toxic ...
Assimilative capacity approaches... <ul><li>set limits for discharge of substances (e.g. mg/l, g/tonne), including for haz...
Assimilative capacity? Pb Hg Cd Cr N P BOD TOC
Assimilative capacity? Pb Hg Cd Cr N P BOD TOC X
Bioaccumulation of mercury
Bioaccumulation of PBDEs
Why zero? Dilute & disperse Assimilative capacity The solution to pollution is dilution The environment can deal with our ...
Why zero? Dilute & disperse Assimilative capacity Zero discharge The solution to pollution is dilution The environment can...
Evolution of the  zero discharge concept <ul><li>UN Conference on the Human Environment (1972)… </li></ul><ul><li>Principl...
Evolution of the  zero discharge concept <ul><li>Ministerial Declaration of the 4th North Sea Conference (Esbjerg Declarat...
Evolution of the  zero discharge concept <ul><li>Ministerial Declaration of the 4th North Sea Conference (Esbjerg Declarat...
Evolution of the  zero discharge concept <ul><li>OSPAR (North East Atlantic) Convention - 1998 Ministerial Statement </li>...
Evolution of the  zero discharge concept <ul><li>OSPAR (North East Atlantic) Convention - 1998 Ministerial Statement </li>...
Evolution of the  zero discharge concept <ul><li>EU Technical Guidance Document on Risk Assessment, 2003 </li></ul><ul><li...
Evolution of the  zero discharge concept <ul><li>EU Technical Guidance Document on Risk Assessment, 2003 </li></ul><ul><li...
OSPAR List of Chemicals for Priority Action Most recent update (2007) contains over 40 individual substances or groups OSP...
Other recent developments  in Europe <ul><li>Water Framework Directive  - including adoption of list of priority substance...
Can better wastewater treatment plants deliver zero discharge? <ul><li>For some pollutants, especially pathogens, nutrient...
Industrial effluents can be complex: Riachuelo 2009 28 organic compounds resolved 12 identified (43%) 1,2-Benzenedicarboxy...
Industrial effluents can be complex: Riachuelo 2009 101 organic compounds resolved 25 identified (25%) [1,1'-Biphenyl]-2-o...
WWTPs can be overloaded: China, 2009 67 organic compounds resolved 31 identified (46%) 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, bis(2...
WWTPs can be overloaded: Russia, 2007
Zero discharge policies... <ul><li>already exist  in some regions </li></ul><ul><li>are  scientifically defensible </li></...
Zero discharge cannot be achieved overnight…
Zero discharge cannot be achieved overnight… …but the decision to start working towards it can be.
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The need to adopt a Zero Discharge Policy

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Dr David Santillo
Greenpeace Research Laboratories
University of Exeter, UK

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The need to adopt a Zero Discharge Policy

  1. 1. The need to adopt a zero discharge policy Dr David Santillo Greenpeace Research Laboratories University of Exeter, UK
  2. 2. What do we mean by a zero discharge policy? <ul><li>“ The cessation of discharges, emissions and losses of all hazardous substances, (including heavy metals and organohalogen compounds), within a given deadline, achieved through progressive and substantial reductions to meet appropriate interim targets” </li></ul>
  3. 3. What do we mean by a zero discharge policy? <ul><li>“ The cessation of discharges, emissions and losses of all hazardous substances, (including heavy metals and organohalogen compounds), within a given deadline, achieved through progressive and substantial reductions to meet appropriate interim targets” </li></ul>
  4. 4. What do we mean by a zero discharge policy? <ul><li>“ The cessation of discharges, emissions and losses of all hazardous substances , (including heavy metals and organohalogen compounds), within a given deadline, achieved through progressive and substantial reductions to meet appropriate interim targets” </li></ul>
  5. 5. What do we mean by a zero discharge policy? <ul><li>“ The cessation of discharges, emissions and losses of all hazardous substances, (including heavy metals and organohalogen compounds), within a given deadline , achieved through progressive and substantial reductions to meet appropriate interim targets” </li></ul>
  6. 6. What do we mean by a zero discharge policy? <ul><li>“ The cessation of discharges, emissions and losses of all hazardous substances, (including heavy metals and organohalogen compounds), within a given deadline, achieved through progressive and substantial reductions to meet appropriate interim targets” </li></ul>
  7. 7. Why zero? Dilute & disperse The solution to pollution is dilution
  8. 8. Why zero? Dilute & disperse Assimilative capacity The solution to pollution is dilution The environment can deal with our pollution... ...up to a limit
  9. 9. Assimilative Capacity “ The ability of a body of water to cleanse itself” “ Its capacity to receive waste waters or toxic materials without deleterious effects and without damage to aquatic life or humans who consume the water”
  10. 10. Assimilative capacity approaches... <ul><li>set limits for discharge of substances (e.g. mg/l, g/tonne), including for hazardous substances </li></ul><ul><li>therefore can provide for the legalisation of ongoing pollution , even for persistent and bioaccumulative chemicals </li></ul><ul><li>commonly focus on a small sub-set of the pollutants discharged </li></ul>
  11. 11. Assimilative capacity? Pb Hg Cd Cr N P BOD TOC
  12. 12. Assimilative capacity? Pb Hg Cd Cr N P BOD TOC X
  13. 13. Bioaccumulation of mercury
  14. 14. Bioaccumulation of PBDEs
  15. 15. Why zero? Dilute & disperse Assimilative capacity The solution to pollution is dilution The environment can deal with our pollution... ...up to a limit
  16. 16. Why zero? Dilute & disperse Assimilative capacity Zero discharge The solution to pollution is dilution The environment can deal with our pollution... ...up to a limit Many pollutants are not readily broken down or detoxified in the environment
  17. 17. Evolution of the zero discharge concept <ul><li>UN Conference on the Human Environment (1972)… </li></ul><ul><li>Principle 7 - States shall take all possible steps to prevent pollution of the seas by substances that are liable to create hazards to human health, to harm living resources and marine life, to damage amenities or to interfere with other legitimate uses of the sea. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Evolution of the zero discharge concept <ul><li>Ministerial Declaration of the 4th North Sea Conference (Esbjerg Declaration), 1995… </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Ministers AGREE that the objective is to ensure a sustainable, sound and healthy ecosystem” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The guiding principle for achieving this objective is the precautionary principle” </li></ul>
  19. 19. Evolution of the zero discharge concept <ul><li>Ministerial Declaration of the 4th North Sea Conference (Esbjerg Declaration), 1995… </li></ul><ul><li>“ This implies the prevention of pollution of the North Sea by continuously reducing discharges, emissions and losses of hazardous substances, thereby moving towards the target of their cessation within one generation (25 years)...” </li></ul>
  20. 20. Evolution of the zero discharge concept <ul><li>OSPAR (North East Atlantic) Convention - 1998 Ministerial Statement </li></ul><ul><li>“… Ministers AGREE to prevent pollution of the maritime area by continuously reducing discharges,emissions and losses of hazardous substances (that is, substances which are toxic, persistent and liable to bioaccumulate [PBT] or which give rise to an equivalent level of concern), with the ultimate aim of achieving concentrations in the environment near background values for naturally occurring substances and close to zero for man-made synthetic substances”. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Evolution of the zero discharge concept <ul><li>OSPAR (North East Atlantic) Convention - 1998 Ministerial Statement </li></ul><ul><li>“… Ministers AGREE to make every endeavour to move towards the target of cessation of discharges, emissions and losses of hazardous substances by the year 2020”. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Evolution of the zero discharge concept <ul><li>EU Technical Guidance Document on Risk Assessment, 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>“ PBT assessment…seeks to protect ecosystems where the risks are more difficult to estimate”. </li></ul><ul><li>Addresses concern that hazardous substances may accumulate in the marine environment and that effects may be difficult to detect in the short term, unpredictable in the long-term and difficult to reverse </li></ul>
  23. 23. Evolution of the zero discharge concept <ul><li>EU Technical Guidance Document on Risk Assessment, 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>“ For PBT [and vPvB] substances a “safe” concentration in the environment cannot be established with sufficient reliability.” </li></ul><ul><li>PBT assessment - two steps: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>identification of hazardous substances using specific criteria for the inherent properties; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>evaluation of sources and pathways to determine the most effective measures to reduce and ultimately prevent releases </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. OSPAR List of Chemicals for Priority Action Most recent update (2007) contains over 40 individual substances or groups OSPAR List of Chemicals for Priority Action 1998 Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) Short-chained chlorinated paraffins Mercury and organic mercury compounds Organic tin compounds Nonylphenol/ethoxylates and related substances Musk xylene Brominated flame retardants Certain phthalates - DBP and DEH Polychlorinated dibenzodioxins (PCDDs) Polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) Pentachlorophenol (PCP) Hexachlorocyclohexane isomers (HCH) Cadmium Lead and organic lead compounds
  25. 25. Other recent developments in Europe <ul><li>Water Framework Directive - including adoption of list of priority substances and priority hazardous substances (subject to cessation target) </li></ul><ul><li>REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation of CHemicals) - including identification of substances of very high concern (PBT, vPvB, CMR, equivalent) </li></ul>
  26. 26. Can better wastewater treatment plants deliver zero discharge? <ul><li>For some pollutants, especially pathogens, nutrients and degradable organic matter, POSSIBLY…(where water-based waste systems are unavoidable) </li></ul><ul><li>For many hazardous substances, NO… conventional treatment technologies are poorly suited to complex mixtures of persistent and bioaccumulative chemicals </li></ul>
  27. 27. Industrial effluents can be complex: Riachuelo 2009 28 organic compounds resolved 12 identified (43%) 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, bis(2-ethylhexyl) ester Benzene, 1,3-dichloro- Benzene, 1,4-dichloro- Benzothiazole, 2-(methylthio)- Chloroform Ethene, trichloro- Ethene, tetrachloro- Nonadecane Phenol, 2,4,5-trimethyl- Phenol, 2,4,6-trimethyl- Phenol, 2,6-dimethyl- Toluene, p-amino-
  28. 28. Industrial effluents can be complex: Riachuelo 2009 101 organic compounds resolved 25 identified (25%) [1,1'-Biphenyl]-2-ol 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, diethyl ester 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, bis(2-ethylhexyl) ester Benzene, 1,2-dichloro- Benzene, 1,3-dichloro- Benzene, 1,4-dichloro- Benzene, 1,2,4-trimethyl- Benzene, 1,3,5-trimethyl- Benzopyran, 6-acetyl-7-hydroxy-2,2-dimethyl- Benzothiazole Benzothiazole, 2-(methylthio)- Chloroform Cholest-5-en-3-ol (3.beta.)- Citric acid, tributyl ester, acetate Ethene, 1,2-dichloro-, cis- Ethene, trichloro- Ethene, tetrachloro- Galaxolide Hexadecanoic acid Methane, bromodichloro- Methane, dichloro- Phenol, 2,6-bis(1,1-dimethylethyl)-4 methyl- (BHT) Phenol, nonyl-, mixture of isomers Sulfur, mol. (S8) Xylenes, o-, p-, & m-isomers
  29. 29. WWTPs can be overloaded: China, 2009 67 organic compounds resolved 31 identified (46%) 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, bis(2-ethylhexyl) ester 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, dibutyl ester 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, dimethyl ester 1,2,3,5,6-Pentathiepane 1,2,4,5-Tetrathiane 1,2,4-Trithiolane 1-Octadecanethiol 1-Octadecene 3,5-Dibromosalicylaldehyde Acetophenone Benzaldehyde, 3,5-dimethyl- Benzaldehyde, 3-bromo- Benzaldehyde, 4-bromo- Benzaldehyde, 4-chloro- Benzaldehyde, 3-chloro- Benzene, hexachloro- Decanoic acid Dodecanoic acid Ethane, 1,2-bis(2-chloroethoxy)- Methanone, diphenyl- Naphthalene Nonanoic acid Phenol, 2,4,6-trichloro- Phenol, 2,4-di-t-butyl-6-nitro- Phenol, 2,4,6-tribromo- Phenol, 2,4-dibromo- Phenol, 2,4-dichloro-6-nitro- Sulfur, mol. (S8) Tetradecanoic acid Undecanoic acid Undecane
  30. 30. WWTPs can be overloaded: Russia, 2007
  31. 31. Zero discharge policies... <ul><li>already exist in some regions </li></ul><ul><li>are scientifically defensible </li></ul><ul><li>encourage waste minimisation & avoidance over waste treatment & disposal </li></ul><ul><li>and therefore contribute to smarter, more efficient industrial development </li></ul><ul><li>stimulate dialogue and co-operation between government, industry and society </li></ul>
  32. 32. Zero discharge cannot be achieved overnight…
  33. 33. Zero discharge cannot be achieved overnight… …but the decision to start working towards it can be.

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