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Minister for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2001-2004

The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

 

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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

30 January 2004

National Pollutant Inventory - Helping Cut Emissions


The Minister for the Environment and Heritage Dr David Kemp today released data from the fifth year of reporting facility emissions on the National Pollution Inventory (NPI) and announced that there had been cuts in reported emissions of more than 50 per cent of pollutants.

"This NPI reporting, a national initiative run as a cooperative programme by the Australian, States and Territories governments, is helping industry identify pollution sources and embrace new cleaner production techniques,” said Dr Kemp.

"This year, there has been a 13 per cent increase in the number of facilities reporting, from 2,972 to 3,364, a huge increase from the 1,200 facilities that reported their emissions when the NPI began in 1999.

"I'm delighted to see that of the 90 substances reported under the NPI, there are reduced emissions from 50 substances, including potentially harmful chemicals such as benzene and lead. Industry reported lower emissions of sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen – chemicals that cause poor air quality in our cities and regions.

"While cleaner air is one of Australia's environmental success stories, we still have challenges to face. For example, reported emissions of cadmium, cobalt and zinc have increased,” said Dr Kemp.

"Much of the increase can be attributed to industries now being aware of the NPI and their reporting responsibilities. It is also a clear signal to the State EPAs and the mining industry to look carefully at their emissions.”

Dr Kemp said that all of us must play our part in reducing harmful pollutant emissions.

"Motor vehicles remain the chief cause of air pollution in six out of eight Australian capitals. Car use can emit up to 34 NPI substances. It highlights that smoking a cigarette emits at least 19 damaging chemicals, while wood fire home heating is a major source of pollutants such as formaldehyde and fine particles in some regions.

"The Howard Government established Australia's first national fuel standards for sulfur and other chemicals through the Fuel Quality Standards Act and is enforcing these by monitoring fuel across the country. We have completely phased out leaded petrol, tightened controls on emissions from in-service diesel vehicles and helped convert bus and truck fleets to cleaner fuels.

"Since the introduction of the Howard Government's woodheater replacement program in Launceston, there has been a marked improvement in air quality in this region.

"The Howard Government has also established eco-efficiency agreements with industry, collected more than 1700 tonnes of unwanted farm chemicals, and reduced the devastating environmental and health impacts from toxic used oil with a huge boost to recycling facilities.

"I encourage organizations and individuals and industry to visit the NPI website to understand which pollutants are emitted in their local areas, and industry to learn from the NPI's valuable benchmarking information, " Dr Kemp said.

The NPI can be accessed at www.npi.gov.au and any queries directed to npi@deh.gov.au or 1800 657 945.


Frequently Asked Questions

Explanation of terms

The Australian Government's role in protecting our air

A range of Commonwealth initiatives are undertaken in cooperation with States and Territories who have the lead role in controlling pollution in Australia.

Motor Vehicle Pollution

To combat pollution from traffic in our cities the Australian Government has:

Woodsmoke

To complement these efforts to cut motor vehicle pollution, other sources of urban air pollution such as woodsmoke have been targeted. Launceston had a particularly bad problem with woodsmoke. The Australian Government, working with State and local governments, has tackled the problem with a range of measures, including a Natural Heritage Trust-funded financial incentive scheme to encourage householders to switch to cleaner burning heating appliances, and an education campaign. Under the Launceston Woodheater Replacement Program introduced in August 2001, 1,733 woodheaters have been replaced totaling $ 839,850 by January 2004. A range of government research projects are also helping us better understand the factors influencing emissions from woodheaters and how these emissions can be minimized.

A further measure to reduce pollution includes the passing of the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act through Parliament recently to provide a national approach to managing the supply and end use of ozone-depleting substances.

States and Territories' role in protecting our air

The States and Territories regulate air quality with the National Environment Protection Measure for Ambient Air Quality and their own air quality legislation. States and Territories are responsible for enforcing NPI reporting.

Commonwealth of Australia