Pollutant release and transfer registers (PRTRs) provide a valuable source of information on the generation and management of pollutants by tracking the amounts of specific chemicals that are released and transferred from industrial facilities into and through our communities each year. By having access to such information, governments, industry and citizens alike are better equipped to set priorities, engage in informed dialogue and undertake positive action to prevent or reduce the generation and release of pollutants of concern.
This report, which is fourth in the Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s annual Taking Stock series, contains some positive news: releases of the chemicals in the matched data set have decreased by nine percent over the period from 1995–1997. However, some less positive trends have also emerged. Transfers, i.e., the amounts of substances shipped off-site for waste management or disposal, have increased by 27 percent during the same period. This serves as an indication that we need to reinforce our collective and independent efforts to promote preventive approaches to reducing industrial pollution in North America.