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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

31 January 2003

Emissions Data Helps Clear the Air


Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today congratulated ACT industry for its response in reporting emissions data to the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI).

"In 2001-2002, the NPI's fourth reporting year, 23 ACT facilities reported their emissions. This was the same number of facilities as last year, reflecting the ACT's small industrial base," Dr Kemp said.

"Three of the 10 largest carbon monoxide emitting facilities reported a decrease in emission to air compared with 2000-2001."

The NPI is an Internet database that provides information on the type and amount of pollution emitted to the air, land and water across the country. It is a cooperative program between Federal, State and Territory governments.

Facilities are required to report to the NPI if they have an NPI industry handbook and exceed NPI reporting thresholds which relate to use of particular NPI substances, the amount of fuel they burn, or - for total nitrogen and total phosphorus - the emission levels.

Dr Kemp said in 2001-2002, a record 2,948 facilities nationally reported to the NPI, jumping from 2,374 the previous year. For the first time, facilities also reported on the full list of 90 substances, up from only 36 substances in previous years.

"Despite a significant increase in the number of facilities reporting to the NPI in 2001-2002, it has been encouraging to see that there has been no change in the levels of reported emissions of some substances. For example, estimated benzene emissions into the atmosphere did not change compared to the previous year," Dr Kemp said.

"I am pleased to see that in 2001-2002, the oil and gas extraction sector decreased emissions of at least five NPI substances, including benzene, oxides of nitrogen, toluene, total nitrogen and total phosphorus.

"These results show some of our major industries are taking pollution more seriously and are embracing cleaner production techniques to minimise emissions and protect the environment for the good of the whole community."

Dr Kemp said the NPI database had become a very valuable tool for industry, government and the community, and was assisting industries around Australia to move towards more sustainable practices.

"Not only can the data help people to find out the major sources and levels of emissions in their local area, but it is helping industry to benchmark and improve environmental performance," Dr Kemp said.

"This year we've also improved the NPI web site to ensure faster and easier access to information."

The NPI results follow findings from the State Of The Environment Report 2001, which confirmed that the quality of air in Australia's cities is improving. The Commonwealth has been leading the national effort on air quality through a range of projects including the NPI, which was the first air quality National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM), setting ambient air quality standards for six air pollutants across Australia.

The Commonwealth has also introduced new national fuel quality standards to reduce pollution through cleaner diesel and petrol as well as through the use of new automotive technology, and it has established many Eco-Efficiency Agreements with industry to help reduce their impact on the environment.

For more information about the NPI, visit the web site www.npi.gov.au

For more information about other Commonwealth projects to improve air quality visit www.ea.gov.au/atmosphere/airquality

Media contact:
Catherine Job Dr Kemp's office (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Naomi Dwyer Environment Australia Public Affairs (02) 6274 1015
Dr Chris Mill Environment Australia, NPI Unit (02) 6274 1831

Commonwealth of Australia