Swedish forest industries "cutting pollution"

EPA charts big decrease in emissions since 1990 but finds continued cause for concern

Pollution from Sweden's forest industry has been cut sharply since its peak in the 1970s but there is still cause for some concern, the Swedish environmental protection agency (EPA) said in a new report this week.

Last year, the 68 companies in the sector produced about 12m tonnes of pulp, 10m tonnes of paper and 144,000m tonnes of fibreboard, the EPA says. The industry accounts for 90% of Swedish discharges of chemical oxygen demand (COD), 12% of nitrogen emissions and 13% of anthropogenic phosphorus.

Releases of oxygen-consuming substances amounted to 280,000 tonnes COD and 72,000 tonnes of biological oxygen demand (BOD), while the industry also emitted 730 tonnes of chlorinated substances. These figures imply substantial progress since 1990, with BOD down by 38%, COD by 43% and chlorinated substances by 90%.

During the same period, production of pulp and paper increased by 11% and 16% respectively. Although nitrogen and phosphorus emissions have declined by 45% and 42% respectively, to 3,300 tonnes and 3,700 tonnes, "we feel that the forestry industry can do more in this respect", an EPA spokesman said.

Sulphur emissions to air have fallen by 38%, to 5,300 tonnes, since 1990; but emissions of nitrogen oxides have remained broadly stable at 14,000 tonnes. The industry's electricity consumption in 1999 was 22,000 gigawatt hours, nearly 60% of which came from renewable sources.

Follow Up:
Swedish EPA, tel: +46 8 698 1000, reference: Report 5114.

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