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PRTR Project in Switzerland -- Status 2000

Since several tens of years emissions of major air polluting substances (e.g. SO2, NOx, VOC, CO, NH3, HCl, HF, dust, Pb, Zn, Cd, Hg, PCDD/PCDF, CFC, CH4, N2O) are being collected in Switzerland. The main sources of emissions as traffic, industry/trade, agriculture and households are taken into account. These data are useful for a future Swiss PRTR and are currently made available for international inventories e.g. Corinair.

In 1996 the Swiss authorities initialized a small pilot project together with the Basel Chemical Industry. An electronic reporting form was prepared to collect information on facility/company (name, address, contact person), water and energy use, information on the substance (e.g. name, purchase, production, inventory, turnover), quantities of emissions (air, water, soil / spill and leak), quantities of waste (way of disposal, treated on or off site) and quantities of recycling. The quantities were characterized as measured, estimated or calculated to specify the precision of the data and to avoid unnecessary cost of measurement. Five companies collected data of five substances (acetonitrile, bis-phenol A, chlorobenzene, dichloromethane, pyridine) in their 17 Swiss facilities for the reporting year 1995. The practical experience showed that it is very important to exactly define the parameters to get comparable data, e.g. the definition of the system boundaries. Furthermore it turned out to be difficult to establish a reference value showing the relation between emissions or waste to the turnover of a substance. A simplified system was tested by collecting the emission data of the year 1996. The boundaries of the facilities were defined as the boundaries of the system. Therefore only the emissions after the internal waste treatment were taken into account. The results of the small pilot project were published in 1999 (available only in German).

As a lot of environmental data are collected by the cantons they were asked to report on the present status of their data banks on emissions and waste. This survey showed that there are considerable differences in the way data are collected, stored and made public. A main problem is confidentiality as usually only part of the collected data or aggregated information is available.

Two workshops on 23 April 1997 and 14 September 1999 were organized to inform all interested stakeholders of the project to set up a Swiss PRTR. Presentations were given by representatives from OECD, federal and cantonal authorities, industries, banks and NGOs. It was an opportunity to evaluate the needs of the parties interested in emission data and the possibilities of data suppliers.

A pilot project involving all interested stakeholders including several industries is forecasted to be started in 2000. A working party is being set up for planning, scheduling and guiding the process.

For any questions you may have please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Hans Peter Saxer (Tel.: ++41 31 322 93 84, Fax: ++41 31 324 79 78, e-mail: [email protected])

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