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New United Nations Treaty on Disclosure of Pollution Information

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Contact: Claudia Monlouis

New United Nations Treaty on Disclosure of Pollution Information

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - The United Nations will this month adopt a new and legally binding protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTR) that will affect the operations of companies that release pollutants into the environment. These pollutants include greenhouse gases, acid rain pollutants, heavy metals and cancer causing chemicals such as dioxins.

Under this protocol companies of such pollutants considered to pose significant threats to the environment or human health, via air, water or land are required to report annually upon releases of those environment and human threatening agents. The companies will also be required to make all data user friendly and publicly accessible.

The instrument was developed under the auspices of the UN Economic Commission for Europe as a Protocol to the Convention on Access to Information to Justice in Environmental Matters, under the Aarhus Convention. The Aarhus Convention is the United Nation’s flagship Convention on environmental issues.

The protocol will be adopted and signed at the upcoming Fifth Ministerial “Environment For Europe” Conference scheduled for May 21-23 in Kiev, Ukraine.

The Protocol is open for signature and accession by any member state of the United Nations and is therefore expected to establish a new Global Benchmark in this field.

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