SEOUL-- The amount of chemical substances discharged from business establishments in South Korea recorded 53,732 tons in 2015, slightly down from a year earlier, government data showed Wednesday.

The figure decreased by 529 tons, or 0.97 percent, from 54,261 tons recorded in 2014, according to the data by the Ministry of Environment. The emission rate also edged down to 0.0312 percent from 0.0332 percent.

A total of 3,634 workplaces in the country emitted some 215 different kinds of pollutants in 2015, including xylene, toluene and ethyl acetate, the ministry said.

Xylene, toluene, ethyl acetate and methyl ethyl ketone accounted for 62 percent of the discharged substances, which are mostly associated with coal fuel, paint and gasoline.

The total amount of chemicals processed came to 172.1 million tons as of end-2015, up by 8.5 million tons from the previous year.

Of the discharged chemicals, 99.5 percent were released into the atmosphere, while the rest were emitted through the water system, the ministry said.

By industry, the transportation equipment manufacturing sector took up the largest proportion of 33.4 percent in terms of the production of the chemicals, followed by rubber and plastic manufacturing with 14.1 percent and vehicle manufacturing with 9.2 percent.

By region, Gyeonggi Province, situated on the outskirts of the capital, produced some 21.5 percent of the chemicals, with South Gyeongsang Province in the country's southeast, accounting for 1.3 percent and the industrial city of Ulsan responsible for 15.1 percent of the emission, according to the data.

Source: Yonhap News Agency