Pollutant release and transfer register

OECD activities to assist PRTR implementation



Dissemination and use of PRTR data

Release and estimation techniques



OECD work on PRTRs is overseen by the Task Force on PRTRs. The activities aim at:

  • Developing practical tools and guidance to help member countries implement a PRTR;
  • Outreaching activities to non-member economies, including the provision of information and technical support; and
  • Promoting communication and a close working relationship between the OECD Task Force on PRTRs and other relevant organisations.


Among technical and practical aspects, special focus goes to the dissemination and use of PRTR data, and release estimation techniques under a PRTR scheme.


The outcome of the work is available several links below, or from publications on PRTRs.


(1) Dissemination and use of PRTR data

A basic function of a PRTR system is making release and transfer data accessible to the public. Making such data available can help facilitate public participation in the sound chemicals management and environmental decision-making process. To provide member countries with a practical guide on disseminating and presenting PRTR data, the OECD compiled and published practices and experiences on the presentation and dissemination of PRTR data in 2000.


The OECD also published Uses of PRTR data and Tools for their Presentations (2005) which compiles various examples of the use of PRTR data as well as tools for presenting and illustrating them in member countries. More recently, the considerations for ensuring quality PRTR data was published, which examines similarities and differences across countries in their requirements to collect and display high quality data required for an effective PRTR system.


The other part of efforts related to the desemination of PRTR data is the development of web-based resources to make various PRTR data and information easily accessible. The PRTR.new is a global portal to various PRTR infomration and activities from countries and organisations around the world. The Centre for PRTR Data provides PRTR data in national or regional levels submitted from OECD countries every year.


(2) Release and estimation techniques

The use of estimation techniques is also a key aspect of a PRTR programme. Releases and transfers of pollutants are usually estimated rather than calculated through exact quantifiable measurements mainly because estimation is generally easier and less expensive. Different estimation methods are used depending on the industrial process, equipment and operating conditions at each factory or specific source.


The aim of this project is to help countries develop and implement PRTR systems by making the data about chemical releases and transfers easier to find and use. Since 2000, The Task Force on PRTRs has been developed a compendium of techniques used to estimate releases from various sources.


Four volumes of Resource Compendium have been published so far regarding point sources (2002), diffuse sources (2003), off-site transfers (2005) and releases from products (2011, Part I and Part II). The Framework for Selecting and Applying PRTR Release Estimation Techniques complements these Resource Compendiums by providing information on general principles for producing release data and the selection and application of the various release estimation techniques to different industrial sectors.


The Resource Centre for Release Estimation Techniques is also developed as a web-based clearinghouse of guidance manuals and other documents on release estimation techniques.