What is E-PRTR?
The European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR) is the Europe-wide register that provides easily accessible key environmental data from industrial facilities in European Union Member States and in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
The register contains data reported annually by some 30,000 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 onwards. Some information on releases from diffuse sources is also available.
The first reporting year under the E-PRTR was 2007, for which the data were reported in June 2009. From 2010, Member States report data to the E-PRTR by the end of March and, subsequent to this, the register website is updated every year.
The register contributes to transparency and public participation in environmental decision-making. It implements for the European Union the UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) PRTR Protocol to the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.
The E-PRTR Regulation was adopted in 2006 to implement the Kiev Protocol at EU level.
The Kiev Protocol is the first legally binding international instrument on pollutant release and transfer registers. Its objective is "to enhance public access to information through the establishment of coherent, nationwide pollutant release and transfer registers (PRTRs)." PRTRs are inventories of pollution from industrial sites and other sources. The Protocol was adopted under the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.Although regulating information on pollution, rather than pollution directly, the Protocol is expected to contribute promoting a downward trend of pollution, as no company will want to be identified as among the biggest polluters.