1. Ongoing activities
OECD activities aim at developing practical tools and guidance to help countries to install and implement a PRTR, including the provision of information and technical support. Special focus goes to improving PRTR data quality, exploring PRTR data applications and harmonising PRTRs across the countries.
The outcome of the work is available at OECD Publications on PRTRs.
(1) Improving data quality
The use of estimation techniques is a key aspect of a PRTR. Releases and transfers of pollutants are usually estimated rather than calculated through exact quantifiable measurements mainly because estimation is generally easier and less expensive. Different estimation methods are used depending on the industrial process, equipment and operating conditions at each factory or specific source.
OECD has been developed a compendium of techniques used to estimate releases from various sources.
(2) PRTR data applications
One of the basic functions of a PRTR is making release and transfer data accessible to the public. Making such data available can help facilitate public participation in the sound chemicals management and environmental decision-making process.
OECD has developed practical guides on disseminating and presenting PRTR data.
(3) Harmonisation of PRTRs across the countries
Most PRTRs established to date are designed to meet the needs of a specific country, with less attention being given to the comparability of the data across different PRTRs. Consequently, many PRTRs have differing requirements in terms of which chemicals and industrial sectors are covered, and what thresholds trigger reporting. These differences create obstacles to efforts to compare, aggregate and analyse the valuable information in national PRTRs on a global basis.
In response, the OECD has been developing practical tools to help member countries implement harmonised PRTRs.
2. Expert Group on PRTR
OECD work on PRTRs is overseen by the Task Force on PRTRs (TF PRTRs), composed of experts on PRTR in member countries. The TF PRTRs activities aim at: