Ottawa - July 27, 1998 - Releases of pollutants to the Canadian environment have declined for the third year in a row, according to the annual report of the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) released today by Environment Minister Christine Stewart.
A total of 142,613 tonnes of pollutants were released by 1,818 facilities in 1996, according to the NPRI. Releases of toxic substances, and substances known to cause cancer or suspected of causing cancer, totaled 13,252 tonnes, a decrease of 6.1% from 1995.
"I am pleased to see a further decline in releases," said Environment Minister Christine Stewart, "The NPRI is a powerful instrument that helps us work with industry to ensure this downward trend continues in future years," she said.
The 1996 report contains a new section on national, provincial and territorial analysis for toxic and carcinogenic pollutants listed on the inventory. The analysis shows that releases of carcinogenic and toxic substances decreased in the two territories and six provinces, while they increased in three provinces. No releases of toxic or carcinogenic substances were reported in Prince Edward Island.
"The analysis on releases of toxic and carcinogenic substances can be used by individuals to press for pollution prevention planning to improve health and environmental protection in our communities, " said Minister Stewart. "Each year the NPRI becomes more valuable as we continue to work with the provinces and stakeholders to improve the program," she said.
Companies will be required to provide qualitative information on their pollution prevention activities for the 1997 report, and for the 1998 report information on the '3Rs' (recovery, re-use and recycling) will be mandatory.
The National Pollutant Release Inventory will be particularly useful to groups and organizations wanting to establish Millennium Eco-Communities across Canada. The pollutant information will provide baseline data for communities to set local goals to achieve cleaner water, cleaner air, an improved natural legacy and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions."NPRI is a key component of our efforts under the renewed Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) to ensure that Canadians have easy access to the information they need to make informed choices about health and environmental matters," said the Minister.
The 1996 report is the fourth under NPRI, a nation-wide publicly accessible database of 176 pollutants that are released to air, water and land in Canada. Reporting to Environment Canada is mandatory for all facilities which employ more than 10 full-time employees and manufacture, process or use more than 10 tonnes of substances on the NPRI list.
The NPRI is available as a searchable electronic database on the Green Lane, Environment Canada's award winning Internet site at http://www2.ec.gc.ca/pdb/npri/. The 1996 Summary Report is also available for downloading, or can be obtained from Environment Canada's Inquiry Centre at 1-800-668-6767.
Further information on the Millennium Eco-Communities initiative can be found at http://www.ec.gc.ca/eco/.
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