Current emissions

The most recent and comprehensive Hg emissions inventory is based on data from 2010 and presents estimates of anthropogenic emissions to air from various sources as well as releases to aquatic environment.

The report was prepared by UNEP and AMAP as a contribution to the UNEP report Global Atmospheric Mercury Assessment (GMA) 2013

  • A Technical Background Report for the GMA 2013 was also prepared. These new estimates has several improvements if compared to former assessments:
  • A more detailed analysis of emissions from some major source sectors.
  • More detailed consideration of the mercury content of fuels and raw materials used in different countries/regions.
  • New and updated information on artisanal and small-scale gold mining.
  • The use of different pollution control technologies in different countries and regions have been factored into the emissions estimates.
  • Emission estimates for sectors not previously included, such as aluminium production, oil refining, and contaminated sites.
  • More and better information on location of major point sources such as individual power plants, smelters and cement kilns.
  • Better documentation and greater transparency with respect to the data and information behind the estimates (from GMA 2013)

The global emissions to air from anthropogenic sources is estimated as 1960 Mg with large associated uncertainties (1010-4070 Mg). Current anthropogenic sources are responsible for about 30% of annual emissions of mercury to air. Another 10% comes from natural geological sources, and the rest (60%) is from ‘re-emissions’.


Global distribution of anthropogenic mercury emissions in 2005 [AMAP/UNEP, 2008].