October 16, 2006

Mexico releases first air emissions inventory

Mexico has just released its first national inventory of atmospheric air emissions. Compiled with support from the Commission for Environmental Co-operation (CEC) and from U.S. partners, the inventory presents detailed air emissions data for all 32 states and 2,443 municipalities in Mexico. Information is presented on six contaminants that contribute to smog and other air pollution: nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, ammonia and particulate matter. These are grouped by state, municipality and emission source. The inventory covers stationary sources such as industrial facilities, area sources such as small industries, on- and off-road mobile sources such as cars and agricultural machinery, and natural sources such as volcanoes.

A national inventory detailing the nature and sources of air emissions is a key accomplishment in support of better air quality management within Mexico and on both sides of its borders. It also provides the public basic information on the environmental performance of air pollution sources located in, or upwind from, their communities.

Five years ago, the CEC Council, composed of the Canadian, U.S. and Mexican environment ministers, or equivalent, resolved to work towards promoting comparability of air emissions inventory information in North America.

Since then, the CEC has contributed financial support and expertise to the development of the air emissions inventory in Mexico, sponsored workshops involving inventory developers from each Mexican state, and promoted training of state officials on the reporting requirements of the new, mandatory industrial pollution reporting system, the Registro de Emisiones y Transferencia de Contaminantes (RETC).

The release of the inventory was announced only a few weeks after Adri·n V·zquez, previously a senior official at Mexico's environmental ministry, Semarnat, began a three-year term as the CEC's new executive director. More information is available (in Spanish only) on the National Institute of Ecology (INE) Web site, www.ine.gob.mx or from Spencer Tripp at the CEC, 514/350-4331.

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