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EU launches online pollution tracker

11 November 2009

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People across European Union will now be able to check the quality of air with the new online pollution tracker. Launched this week, it will provide data on industrial emissions across the region and will encourage public participation in environmental decision-making.

The European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR) is the new Europe-wide register that provides easily accessible key environmental data from industrial facilities in European Union Member States and in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It replaces and improves upon the previous European Pollutant Emission Register (EPER).

Image credits: Google/ Industrial Pollution

The new register contains data reported annually by some 24,000 industrial facilities covering 65 economic activities across Europe.

For each facility, information is provided concerning the amounts of pollutant releases to air, water and land as well as off-site transfers of waste and of pollutants in waste water from a list of 91 key pollutants including heavy metals, pesticides, greenhouse gases and dioxins for the year 2007. Some information on releases from diffuse sources is also available and will be gradually enhanced.

The register contributes to transparency and public participation in environmental decision-making. It implements for the European Community the UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission) PRTR Protocol to the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.

Calculating emissions

For example, the Corus UK steelworks in north-eastern England emitted a cocktail of harmful gases and liquids including carbon monoxide (88,700 tons) and hydrogen cyanide (2 tons) in the same year.

The main incinerator in Brussels pumped out 493,000 tons of carbon dioxide, 801 tons of nitrogen oxides, 44 kilograms of arsenic and 33 kilos of mercury in 2007.

Visitors to the website can search for a specific place name or facility, or browse according to location, type of business or pollutant.

Source : E-PRTR

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