PRTR Information - Benefits

PRTR systems provide governments with sound information about pollution sources and emissions, thus helping to set priorities for risk reduction. Public environmental groups, communities and citizens, all have information at hand that will allow them to initiate dialogue with regulators and directly with companies concerning opportunities for environmental risk reduction. This enhances the availability of environmental information to the public, promotes communities right-to know, and strengthens dialogue between government, industry, and civil society.

Below are given potential outputs/outcomes to the three major sectors (public, industry and government) representatives:

Benefits to Public

It is important to realize that people facing the potential risks posed by chemical hazards have a right to know about these risks. When this is the case the public is empowered to make sound decisions and take and/or demand adequate measures of protection.

A well-informed civil society will try to assist government and industry in decision-making processes with regard to environmental matters. Industry workers being aware of environmental issues will take steps to protect themselves and their job places from potential accidents caused by use of chemical substances. Finally, the informed public will contribute to activities aimed at improvement of environmental conditions and human health/safety.

Benefits to Industry

National PRTRs allow industry to compare and summarize the data on pollutant releases/transfers of different facilities. As a result, they can apply cleaner production and use recycled materials previously considered to be wastes.

As a consequence of systematic collation of data on emissions at point sources, companies can initiate changes such as the use of alternative chemicals, improved chemical use controls, increased equipment efficiency, improved manufacturing processes and overall reduced point source emissions.

Benefits to Government

A PRTR provides comprehensive information to assist governments in addressing questions such as: who is generating potentially harmful chemical releases? What pollutants are being released? How much is being released and over what time period? To what environment media are these pollutants being released and how much of each substance is going to air, water or soil? What is the geographic distribution of pollutant emissions?

By providing such information, a PRTR can considerably improve the capability of government to meet important environmental management objectives and international obligations.