NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Pollution Declining in North America

April 18, 2003

Environmental pollution in North America dropped 5 percent between 1995 and 2000, according to a new study by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation set up under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

  • There was a 28 percent drop in the amount of chemicals emitted into the air and a 41 percent increase in the amount of chemicals sent largely to off-premise landfills.
  • In 2000, the total amount of pollution released or transferred elsewhere in the United States, Canada and Mexico was 3.6 million tons -- 1.5 million tons of it going into the air, water or ground.
  • Of the remainder, more than 1 million tons went to recycling operations and the rest was sent for treatment, energy recovery or disposal.
  • Of those industries that consistently reported their pollution between 1995 and 2000, the total amount of environmental pollutants released and transferred has decreased from 1.448 million tons in 1995 to 1.381 million tons in 2000.

Source: Associated Press, "N. American pollution declining, research suggests," Dallas Morning News, April 17, 2003; based on "Taking Stock 2000: North American Pollutant Releases and Transfers," April 2003, Commission for Environmental Cooperation of North America.


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