UNECE Pollutants Protocol Enters into Force

6 October 2009: A legally binding instrument on pollutant release and transfer registers will enter into force on 8 October 2009, and help identify, among others, emitters of certain greenhouse gases across Europe.

The Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers was adopted under the aegis of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and relates to the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.

The Protocol requires firms to report annually on releases into the environment and off-site transfers of 86 pollutants, including greenhouse gases, dioxins and heavy metals. The information will then be placed on a public register accessible through the internet. Smaller, widespread sources such as traffic, agriculture and small- and medium-sized enterprises will also be captured through national pollutant registers. Sixteen countries in Europe and the European Community will be bound by the Protocol. [ Press release ]