Inventaires des émissions et des transferts de matières polluantes

Introduction to Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTRs)


What is a PRTR?

Role of stakeholders


What is a PRTR?

A Pollutant release and Transfer Register (PRTR) is a national or regional environmental database or inventory of hazardous chemical substances and pollutants released to air, water and soil, and transferred off-site for treatment or disposal.

  • The industrial or business facilities quantify and report the amounts of substances released to each environmental medium (air, water, soil) or transferred off-site for waste management or wastewater treatment.
  • Some PRTRs also include estimates of releases from diffuse sources, such as agriculture and transport, and from the end use of products. These data are normally compiled by environmental authorities.

PRTR data are made available to the public in published documents, in annual reports, on the Internet, or on CD-ROMs.

  • PRTR data may be presented geographically, either in a fixed form or interactively on the Internet.
  • PRTR data may be presented by industry sectors, by facility, by a pollutant, chemical substance or groups of substances.
  • Additional information is often provided to help better understand the PRTR data.
  • National PRTRs may vary in terms of the chemical substances and pollutants reported, industry or business categories that must report, and destination of releases.

More details about PRTRs are outlines in the guidance manual for governments and other relevant publications.


Role of stakeholders

(1) Industry

Individula facilities determine, collect and report their releases and transfers to a national PRTR. Industry can also benefit from PRTR data, as they can verify their own data by comparing it with others engaged in the same business activity. PRTR reporting may also contribute to industry identifying leaks, reducing waste and thereby saving money. Trade associations and other business groups assess PRTR data to identify more effective chemical management practices and improvements to processes.


(2) The Public, NGOs and the Scientific and Economic Communities

Publicly available PRTRs provide access to environmental information according to the public right-to-know principle and can stimulate interested or potentially affected parties to ask questions and to seek improvements to human health and environmental well-being. Non-governmental organisations can both use and disseminate PRTR data to reflect their individual purposes and goals, as well as those of their constituencies. Researchers and academics can use PRTR data for modelling or other studies, and the financial sector for the evaluation of investment proposals or for considering insurance or sustainability issues.


(3) Government

The development and implementation of a PRTR system adapted to national needs assists governments to track the generation, release and fate of emissions of hazardous chemical substances and pollutants over time, to examine progress in reducing emissions and to set priorities for reducing or even eliminating the most potentially damaging releases and transfers.





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