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Pollutant and Transfer Registers (PRTRs)

What are Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTRs)?

Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD): Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers: Guidance Manual for Governments (OCDE/GD(96)62).

PRTRs are systems tracking chemicals use, transfer and release which record chemical specific and standardised data on emissions of toxic substances to air, water and land (including of-site disposal) from polluting industrial facilities (private, municipal, or state). The information reported is intended for active and regular public dissemination to local communities, industrial managers, government policy makers, and investors.

Reliable, consistent, standardised and multimedia information on toxic releases and transfers to the environment - clearly identifying the individual sources - is vital if realistic and measurable pollution reduction targets and priorities are to be set. PRTR data provides baseline figures for types and quantities of individual pollutants against which progress in reducing levels of specific contaminants can be measured. In leading to reduction in releases and transfers, PRTRs can stimulate cleaner production and products. They can also be designed to track non-point sources pollutant emissions, chemicals contained in products, and water and energy use.

PRTR reporting should be

  • on individual chemicals
  • by individual facilities
  • on all releases and transfers to the environment - to air, land, water and off site treatment and disposal sites
  • periodic, so that trends can be tracked
  • for data elements such as chemicals, facilities, and locations, common identifiers are used so that data can be aggregated and compared
  • structured for entry, organisation, analysis, and access through computer database management;
  • allow for limited trade secrecy
  • show what types of data are claimed secret
  • intended for active and regular public dissemination to local communities, industrial managers, governmental policy makers, and investors. Everyone has the right to know!

  • PRTR Task Force

    Important Links on PRTR

    Information about NPRI

    Information about NPRI in french

    US.EPA Toxic Release Inventory

    UK Chemical Release Inventory

    Mexico PRTR

    Australian National Pollutant Inventory


    UNEP Chemicals


    USA/Canada/Mexico Commision for Env. Cooperation

    Canadian Institute for Env. Law and Policy

    Friend of the Earth -UK

    US Right-to-Know network

    US TRI Mapping and Risk Sreening Score

    Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition

    Czech NGO PRTR Forum page (Czech/English)

    European NGO website

    PRTR-like systems in the Aarhus Convention


    9. Each Party shall take steps to establish progressively, taking into account international processes where appropriate, a coherent, nationwide system of pollution inventories or registers on a structured, computerized and publicly accessible database compiled through standardized reporting. Such a system may include inputs, releases and transfers of a specified range of substances and products, including water, energy and resource use, from a specified range of activities to environmental media and to on-site and off-site treatment and disposal sites.

    Fulltext of Aarhus Convention

    PRTR systems as a part of the National Environmental Health Action Plans

    Info about Environment and Health conference JUNE 1999

    CRTK/PRTR Programme is supportred by the WWF Norway and PHARE Partnership