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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
&
NSW Minister for the Environment
Mr Bob Debus

31 January 2003

Record Industry Response to National Pollution Report


Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and NSW Minister for the Environment, Mr Bob Debus, today congratulated New South Wales industry for its record response to reporting emission data to the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI).

"In 2001-2002, the NPI's fourth reporting year, 627 NSW facilities reported their emissions, an increase of 36 per cent on the previous year," Dr Kemp said.

"It is pleasing to see so many more facilities reporting as it will give NSW residents a more complete picture of pollution emissions in their State."

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

Facilities are required to report to the NPI if they exceed reporting thresholds which relate to the use of particular NPI substances, the amount of fuel they burn or their emission levels.

NSW Environment Minister, Bob Debus, said he was pleased to see more NSW companies reporting their performance and many more are cleaning up their act.

"The accuracy of data has also improved with companies ironing out most of the discrepancies in their reporting methods over the first four years of the NPI," Mr Debus said.

"The significant improvements in this year's NPI provide a firm base for determining future trends in pollution."

Mr Debus said NSW companies have reported installing 373 pieces of pollution reduction equipment and there are over 1100 reports of companies changing their operations to cut pollution - almost double the number reported in the previous year.

"There are now, for example, 17 major facilities using low-pollution burners to reduce NOx emissions, including power stations, smelters and breweries across NSW. NOx, or oxides of nitrogen, are one of the ingredients of photochemical smog or the white haze that can hang over our cities in the warmer months," Mr Debus said.

While the NPI is yet to yield broad trends, this year's report does show promising moves at the company level. For example:

"I am very encouraged to see more and more companies taking up cleaner production techniques and I look forward to seeing the benefits of these improvements through reduced emissions in NPI figures in years to come," Mr Debus said.

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.

"The NPI database has become a very valuable tool for industry, government and the community, and is assisting industries Australia-wide to move towards more sustainable practices," Dr Kemp said. "This year, we've also improved the NPI website to ensure people can get faster and easier access to information."

The NPI results follow findings from the Australia State of The Environment 2001 Report, which confirmed air quality in Australia's cities is improving. All jurisdictions have cooperated to improve air quality through a range of projects including the NPI, which was the first air quality National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM).

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

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
Kate Meagher Mr Debus's office (02) 9955 6508
Ariane Rummery NSW EPA Public Affairs (02) 9955 5347

Commonwealth of Australia