The National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) is an internet database designed to provide the community, industry and government with information on the types and amounts of certain substances being emitted to the environment.
NPI reporting is mandatory for all facilities that emit to air land or water controlled substances at amounts above the threshold limits. TCC operates a number of facilities that either exceed or have the potential to exceed NPI limits. These are the Vatassel Street Landfill and a number of waste water treatment plants.
While it is not mandatory that TCC reports on all emissions from these sites, Council has prepared data using NPI reporting methodology. Townsville City Council data for 2000/01 can be seen below.
the NPI in Queensland
Since 1998, large companies in Townsville have been required to report pollutant emissions to air, land and water as part of a National Environmental Protection Measure (NEPM) for the National Pollution Inventory (NPI). As part of the NEPM, companies triggering reporting requirements submit pollutant release information for 90 substances listed as important to environmental and human health. The data contained in the NPI is freely available through the Internet at www.npi.gov.au.
The three years data available for the Townsville area indicate there has been an increase in the release of pollutants to the environment, the number of reporting facilities and number of substances reporting per facility.
An initial inspection of the results would indicate a poor performance from Townsville industry; however, the data for the NPI needs to put in context. Firstly, as companies come to be more familiar with the NPI reporting procedures their corporate knowledge increases and the quality of their reporting increases.
Secondly, overtime, more of the NPI substances move from optional reporting, to mandatory reporting to mandatory reporting with penalties for non-compliance. This means that over the past three years the incentives for companies to report more of their emissions have increased. Reporting years are: 1998/1999 Program commences with 36 substances mandatory to report but with no penalties for noncompliance 1999/2000 36 substances mandatory to report but with no penalties for noncompliance 2000/2001 36 substances mandatory to report with penalties for noncompliance 2001/2002 This year is the first year with mandatory reporting of all 90 substances.
For Townsville, which has 17 reporting facilities, this has meant that we have seen an increase in the numbers of reporting facilities with those reporting facilities reporting for more substances. This will inevitable lead to a perceived increase in the pollutant release between years. The differences in the reporting of pollutant release from year to year is expected to level out as the reporting requirements stabilise.