What is Canada’s National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI)?

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What is Canada’s National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI)?

What is National Pollutant Release Inventory's (NPRI) role in Canada?
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Highlights

  • Across Canada, the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) focuses on tracking more than 320 pollutants from more than 7,000 facilities
  • The information provided by the NPRI is considered an important effort by the federal government to reduce the release of substances of concern to the environment
  • The NPRI is helping owners and operators by providing them with the tools and guidance for calculating their releases, disposals, and transfers

The NPRI is an inventory of pollutants released into the air, water, and land in Canada. NPRI’s data is helping in tracking pollution patterns and trends across Canada. In this article, we will learn all aspects of NPRI in Canada.

Sections 46 to 53 of CEPA 1999

Sections 46 to 53 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) include provisions related to the collection of information which permits the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada to report information on certain substances. These provisions include the publication of a national inventory of the releases of pollutants.

Section 46 addresses the development of inventories of data. Section 50 communicates that the minister will publish this inventory; and sections 47, 49, and 51-53 include the guidelines related to inventory data collection and publication.

Also read: What to expect from a future of climate change?

Role of NPRI

It helps in collecting data from facilities on pollution and collects data on the disposal and transfer of pollutants. Around 7,362 facilities provided their report to the NPRI in 2019 where 2.94 million tonnes of pollutants were directly emitted into the environment in Canada.

The information provided by the NPRI is considered an important effort by the federal government to reduce the release of substances of concern into the environment and conserve the health of Canadians.

NPRI focuses on providing annual information on transfers and releases from commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities.

Across Canada, NPRI focuses on tracking more than 320 pollutants from more than 7,000 facilities. The reporting facilities consist of factories that engage in manufacturing and developing various power and sewage treatment plants, and oil and gas operations.

Also read: How does Canada’s forestry industry tackle climate change?

The owners and operators may need to submit an NPRI report for the facility if they fulfil at least one of these conditions:

  • If activities like wood preservation, pit or quarry operations, waste or sewage sludge incineration, fuel terminal operations, and others are taking place at the facility.
  • If the employees and contractors are working over 20,000 hours per year at a facility
  • If the facility is engaged in processing, manufacturing, and using NPRI substances above reporting thresholds

Also read: What is Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) 2012?

How NPRI information helps

The information that needs to be reported by owners and operators of facilities for the inventory is encouraging actions for reducing pollution and is also helping Canadians in understanding the pollutants released in their communities.

The NPRI is helping owners and operators by providing them with the tools and guidance for calculating their releases, disposals, and transfers, and helping them by submitting their reports online via a Single Window Reporting System.

Also read: What is the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999?

NPRI data helps to decide on environment protection in the following ways

  • It permits Canadians to track pollutants in their communities.
  • It assesses releases and transfers of substances of concern.
  • It helps study the impact of pollution on ecosystems and human health.
  • It helps execute policy initiatives and risk management measures.
  • It also helps facilities to reduce and prevent pollution.

NPRI data’s ways for helping inform decisions on conserving the environment.

Image credit: © 2022 Kalkine Media®

Bottom line

NPRI is responsible for providing facility-specific information on the recycling, disposal and release of over 300 substances. The substances that fulfil the criteria under section 64 of CEPA 1999 come under NPRI. These substances include pollutants which cause poor air quality, smog, acid rain and other similar substances of concern.

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