Virtual flows of aquatic heavy metal emissions and associated risk in China

Zhang, W., Liu, M., Hubacek, K., Feng, K., Wu, W., Liu, Y., Jiang, H., Bi, J., et al. (2019). Virtual flows of aquatic heavy metal emissions and associated risk in China. Journal of Environmental Management 249 e109400. 10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.109400.

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Heavy metal pollution is posing a serious threat to ecosystem and human health in China. In addition to being emitted into the atmosphere, heavy metals generated by industrial processes are also emitted into water bodies. However, there is a lack of research exploring trade-induced aquatic heavy metals (AHM) emissions hidden in cross-regional supply chain networks. Such information can provide both consumer and producer perspectives on stakeholders' responsibility and involve them in pollution control along the entire supply chain including influencing consumption choices. Using a bottom-up AHM emission inventory (including mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), arsenic (As), and lead (Pb)) in 2010, we firstly accounted for production- and consumption-based AHM emissions and their virtual flows between China's 30 provinces. Additionally, we developed an integrated index, i.e. Equal Risk Pollution Load, to measure the risk associated with five AHM based on the corresponding reference dose. We found that richer provinces Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang through their consumption of metal products caused aquatic Hg, Cd, As and Pb pollution in provinces with nonferrous-metallic mineral resources such as Hunan, Yunnan, and Inner Mongolia. However, virtual aquatic Cr emissions were incurred in richer coastal regions (e.g. Guangdong, Zhejiang) for producing and exporting high value added products (electroplated products, printed circuit board and leather products) to less developed inland provinces. Finally, we propose measures from a supply chain perspective to mitigate aquatic pollution.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aquatic heavy metal; Trade-induced; Consumption-based accounting; MRIO
Research Programs: Water (WAT)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2019 06:09
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:32

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