On Saturday (May 30) the EU published the European Pollutant Release and transfer Register (E-PRTR) for the reporting year 2009.

The European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register provide access to key environmental data from around 24,000 industrial facilities including 336 facilities in Ireland.

The register tracks annual data on 91 specific substances or pollutants released and recorded by industrial and public facilities, above specified reporting thresholds, to air, water, land as well as waste transferred off site.

Overall, the data shows a continued downward trend, since 2007, in emissions of key substances or pollutants to air (carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, methane and non-methane volatile organic carbons).

The energy sector contributed 79% of Ireland’s 2009 E-PRTR carbon dioxide releases while the remaining 21% was from the cement & minerals sector.

Releases of carbon dioxide from the cement sector have decreased by 16.5% since 2008, while nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide emissions decreased by 39% and 37% respectively, since 2008.

Data from Ireland was submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for the third year in a row.

The EPA’s programme manager for environmental enforcement, Gerard O’Leary, said: “The data from Ireland continues to show an overall downward trend in emissions to air as a result of a reduction in production output arising from macroeconomic activity and capital investment in abatement technology in the energy sector.”

Releases to air were dominated by facilities from the energy, minerals, cement and chemical sectors.

The tonnage of hazardous waste transferred off-site from E-PRTR facilities decreased by 55% since 2008, to 220,428 tonnes, however, this is most likely a result of the economic downturn according to Mr O’Leary.

Luke Walsh

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