Data for 2007 from the Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) published by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency this month shows a ‘significant decreases in the emission of several significant pollutants from industrial and waste facilities’.

The PRTR compiles data on 91 substances of “pollutants” in emissions to air, water and land by industrial facilities.

In Ireland it showed ‘continuing reductions’ in emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide, the EPA said.

But Dara Lynott, director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement, urged caution with the data published last Sunday (Nov 8).

He said: “The register is a useful tool for tracking trends in emissions over time and for providing information to the general public.

“However, the register is not an inventory of all emissions, nor is it an assessment of compliance by operators of their licences, permits or authorisations.”

The Irish data shows what the EPA calls a ‘considerable’ increase in substances or pollutants in discharges to water.

It blames this on the inclusion in the data for the first time of the country’s six largest urban waste-water treatment plants.

The EPA submitted the Irish PRTR information to the European Commission for inclusion in the new European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR), launched online last Monday (November 9).

This includes data from all member states, charting emissions of the 91 pollutants from some 24,000 industrial facilities across Europe.

Stavros Dimas, the EU environment commissioner, said: “Transparency is a vital tool for improving our environment. The opening of this register will give citizens direct access to information on emissions from facilities across Europe and will help them to engage actively in decisions affecting the environment.

“It demonstrates a genuine commitment by the public authorities and industry to share information with citizens and increase openness.”

To see the new E-PRTR register go to the following link:

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