Friday 6 May 2011

EPA reports continued downward trend of significant pollutants from industrial facilities

The EU Commission has published the European Pollutant Release and transfer Register (E-PRTR) for the reporting year 2009.

It will be available online and will be revised in October 2011, to accommodate updated data.

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 and land as well as waste transferred off-site.

Data from Ireland was submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This is the third annual E-PRTR data submission.

Commenting on the report, Gerard O'Leary, Programme Manager, EPA Office of Environmental Enforcement said - “The European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register provides access to key environmental data from some 24,000 industrial facilities including 336 facilities in Ireland. The register covers 65 economic activities across Europe and contributes to transparency and public participation in environmental decision-making.

"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 macro-economic activity and capital investment in Best Available Technology in abatement technology in the energy sector.”

The key findings of the 2009 E-PRTR show -

336 facilities in Ireland are covered by E-PRTR reporting. These include facilities from power generation, wastewater treatment, chemicals, intensive livestock, minerals & cement sectors. Also included are large companies in areas such food & drink and waste sites.
Releases to air were dominated by facilities from the energy, minerals & cement and chemical sectors.
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.
Nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide emissions decreased by 39% and 37%, respectively, since 2008.
Public wastewater treatment plants which receive wastewater from a variety of sources were the top contributors to the total amount of nutrients (i.e. total nitrogen and total phosphorus, released to waters in 2009). The increase in emissions from this sector is indicative of additional wastewater treatment facilities reporting under E-PRTR.
The tonnage of hazardous waste transferred off-site from E-PRTR facilities decreased by 55% since 2008, to 220,428 tonnes. This is most likely a result of the economic downturn.
The waste transfer stations and chemical sector contributed 52% and 36% respectively, of the total hazardous waste transfers off-site.
The tonnage of non-hazardous waste from all sectors decreased by 6%, to 3.28 million tonnes.

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