Session 5: Access to data and its dissemination, data presentation, including capacity building for data usage and public awareness Mara SILINA/European ECO Forum “Get your right to a healthy community” Second subregional workshop on the Protocol on Pollutant release and Transfer Registers for countries in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia 19 – 21 September 2016 Minsk, Belarus
Article 1 Objective The objective of this Protocol is to enhance public access to information through the establishment of coherent, integrated, nationwide pollutant release and transfer registers (PRTRs) in accordance with the provisions of this Protocol, which could facilitate public participation in environmental decision-making as well as contribute to the prevention and reduction of pollution of environment.
PRTRs empower the public to exercise two basic human rights: • The right to information in order to take action to protect • The right to a healthy environment
In fact it is not possible to judge from outside a facility whether is meets the environmental and safety requirements or not. Two major questions arise: • Is this all relevant? • Are people interested in what the industry is releasing into the environment?
It is getting more a 1. State of the environment is degrading and there are examples of extreme situations. So, it is getting more and more important what industry is releasing into the environment.
2. There is growing public interest in knowing what is happening in the neighborhood. This interest is fueled by high tech IT tools, smart phones, tablets, etc.
With an increasing emphasis on public participation and access to information, PRTRs are an elegant mechanism which help to engage the public in pollution and regulation issues. Not only do PRTRs implement the public’s right -to-know about pollution in their neighbourhood or on a country-wide basis, they increase accountability of companies and create pressure to reduce the emissions.
Question Sample Data Use Key information How much pollution does a facility An official identifies companies that Chemicals name/identification number; generate? release or transfer particular hazardous environmental medium or disposal chemicals and determines where they destination. go. What sensitive population are located Students can map their neighbourhood, Locational information (accurate near by? census data, and pollution sources on latitude and longitude). (home) computers. How does a facility compare to other An investment researcher learns which Industrial sector classification. firms in its industry? companies in a sector have fewer emissions and can investigate which have adopted cleaner technologies. What environmental data does the A community group readily obtains a Facility/site identification ( unique ID facility submit to Government? factory’s environmental permit/s and number for all reports from one facility) emission data from a single source. How has a firm behaved at its other A citizens’ group quickly finds out if a Parent company identification. facilities elsewhere? firm has been a “bad neighbour” at its operations elsewhere. How much pollution does traffic A group of neighbours look at maps to Locational information on diffuse generate in a neighbourhood? see the quantity of particulates released sources. in a certain area and compare that with industry releases.
Potential users of PRTR data • Neigbourhood community groups, citizens’ groups, NGOs and individuals • Workers and management at industrial facilities • Pollution abatement companies • Pollution control and planning authorities • Local, regional and national government • Emergency planning services • School teachers and students • Investment and insurance analysts • The press • Etc.
How does a PRTR system look like from inside (what kind of data it manages)? • - facility specific • - reporting on point sources • - reporting on diffuse sources • - pollutant specific or waste specific
How does a PRTR system look like for the user (interfaces)? • standardized and timely data • coherent and designed to be user-friendly • publicly accessible, including in electronic form • allows for public participation in its development and modification
Role of NGOs in use, implementation and development of PRTRs • To use the Protocol on PRTRs(collect, analyse, disseminate information) • To contribute to the relevant policy-making and development processes (public participation) • To monitor implementation of the PRTR Protocol • To ensure compliance with and enforcement of relevant legal acts • To promote the principles of the PRTRs Protocol internationally, regionally,nationally and locally • To organise public awareness campaigns and create and interest of public about the PRTRs
Role of NGOs in use, implementation and development of PRTRs • To build capacity for ourselves and citizens on interpretation and use of data provided in the PRTRs • To facilitate exchange of information and good/bad practices and experiences • To provide a platform for bringing together different stakeholders, including industry representatives • To ensure openness and transparency of different institutions, government bodies and agencies • To develop pilot PRTRs (if necessary) • To be a whistle-blowers if things go wrong!!!
Need of NGOs regarding PRTRs • Extention of the list of pollutants • Require reporting the presence of any Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) (REACH) • Include resource consumption and other data that enable to assess environmental performance of facilities • Report on investments/actions taken by the operator(s) to reduce the pollutant load in the first place • Report on track record of compliance with legal framework for each facility • Confidentiality • Lower thresholds of pollutant emissions
Need of NGOs regarding PRTRs • There should be an independent monitoring of the reporting as sometimes public does not trust official data • There is a need to compare/link PRTRs data with statistics from other areas like health • Include more factual data and not only calculations • Local specificities need to be taken into account when reporting on substances • Data should be presented in a comparable way • Regular analysis of data and posting on the web • Harmonization of different systems at the global level
And what about the normal human being? They need to know: • That such a system of PRTR exists • How to use it and for what (user guides etc.) • Link between substances in the PRTR system with their impact to environment and human health!!!
Challenges ahead • Full implementation, enforcement and further development (Protocol adopted in 2003, entered into force on 8 October 2009, national and EU PRTRs in place but 10 out of 12 EECCA countries still do not have them) • Respecting and meeting the needs of NGOs and public in general
Examples of what the European ECO Forum has done to contribute to the PRTR Protocol • Active part of the Protocol’s negotiation process • Made the first plain language booklet on the newly born PRTR Protocol in December 2003 • Organised several capacity building workshops in different countries • Publicity campaigns to promote the PRTR Protocol, its ratification and implementation • Developed DEMO PRTR software and presented it to NGOs in EECCA region • Carried out a project in Kazakhstan and prepared Pilot PRTR (Ust- Kamenogorsk, 2009)
Plans for the future Among others: • New publication on PRTR Protocol • Promotion material(s) on the Protocol’s compliance mechanism and its use • Encourage active NGO participation and contribution in relevant policy- making and PRTR development processes • Monitor implementation of the Protocol • Continue work on project based on our survey “Obsolete storages as a future part of PRTRs” (presented at the PRTR week in Madrid 2015) • Promote the use of PRTRs in the implementation of SDGs and 2030 Agenda
Thank you! For more information, please contact Mara Silina European ECO Forum email@example.com
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