Majority of Polluters Released Less Carcinogenic Substances, but Spolana, on the Contrary, Released More of Them
Czech Republic/PRAGUE - 20 October 2015
Good news for inhabitants of the Czech Republic is that the amounts of carcinogens, reprotoxins, and mutagens (1) reported by the polluters into the Integrated Pollution Register (IPR) decreased, in comparison with the previous year. However, this is not true in the case of the chemical plant Spolana Neratovice located in central Bohemia. Its releases of these substances into the environment were by 4 tons higher. Spolana's results are even worse when comparing amounts of released mutagenic substances. It reported a higher amount of them than all the remaining companies together. Specifically, Spolana, with its forty one tons, is „leading" 54.3 % to the rest of 45.7 %. From the monitored groups of substances, reported amounts of substances hazardous to water organisms, and of dioxins, decreased most significantly. However, in the case of waste incinerators in Prague and Brno, dioxin transfers in waste were by about a third higher than in the previous year.
These figures are obvious from lists prepared by experts of the Arnika Association on the basis of data recently published by the IPR (2), concerning 2014. The NGO also launches a new map application „Polluters under a Magnifying Glass", thanks to which people may find at http://www.znecistovatele.cz what plant and by what compounds pollutes surroundings of their houses, for example.
The complete lists here:IRZ_Zebricky_nejvetsich_znecistovatelu_v_CR_2014_aj.pdf588.68 KB
„This application represents a qualitative leap in making information from the IPR accessible to the public, and we still plan to add specific data on the biggest polluters into it," commented Arnika's chairman, Jindřich Petrlík, putting of the internet application into operation. Arnika decided to put the application into operation as a kind of present to the tenth anniversary of the IPR. The map http://www.znecistovatele.cz was created thanks to a Ministry of Environment grant, and a Block Grant of the Civil Society Development Foundation. The application was created by a talented seventeen-year-old secondary school student Vojtěch Staněk. Using it, people may themselves make not only lists of the biggest polluters in the whole Czech Republic, the individual Regions, but also in any selected radius of their houses, and this may be done concerning all the years for which data were reported into the IPR, namely from 2004 to 2014.
In comparison with 2013, amount of substances hazardous to water organisms reported by the plants into the IPR decreased by ca 24 tons. „To this decrease, there contributed in particular considerably lower amount of substances (by ca 20 tons), especially heavy metals, reported by the Central Waste Water Treatment Plant of the company Pražské vodovody a kanalizace in emissions into water. However, it has to be noted that, for example, agricultural runoff is important for water quality, too, and it is not included in the IP ," put more precisely Milan Havel from the Arnika Association, who draws up lists of the biggest polluters every year. However, amounts of harmful substances released into water were increased, for example, by the biological WWTP of the company Veolia voda Česká republika, a.s. in Pardubice, and by the plant Vřesová in the Sokolov area.
The company showing the highest increase in emissions of substances hazardous, in particular, to human health, is Spolana Neratovice that released considerably higher amount of carcinogenic vinyl chloride in 2014, namely, over 4.5 tons. „This is the highest amount in the whole eleven-year history of reporting into the IPR," specified Petrlík. On the contrary, Kronospan in Jihlava reduced emissions of carcinogenic formaldehyde considerably. The seventeen recent tables are dominated by polluters especially from the Moravian-Silesian Region, Ústí nad Labem Region, and Central Bohemian Region. The Vysočina Region keeps its share, too.
Another considerable decrease took place in the case of emissions of dioxins (6) into the air, and through their transfers in waste. „Železárny Hrádek, a.s. did not report record emissions close to one kg of dioxins in 2014 anymore. Thus, the overall reported amount of dioxins as the sum of emissions into the air and transfers in waste decreased, even slightly below the amounts reported in 2012 and 2011. However, amounts of dioxins in waste from our two biggest waste incinerators in Prague and in Brno showed the opposite trend, because they increased in comparison with 2013," summed up Petrlík.
In 2013, releases and transfers of hazardous substances were reported, in total, by 1693 companies (this number increased by thirty six in comparison with the previous year), and the number of substances decreased by two from 61 reported in 2013 to 59 reported in 2014, this being the same number as in 2011 and 2012. The data into the IPR, as a publicly accessible database, are reported by the individual plants themselves. On the basis of these data, Arnika has prepared lists according to groups of substances hazardous to human health and the environment, for eleven years already.
This year, the Arnika Association published lists of the biggest polluters on the basis of the IPR data within the framework of projects „Polluters under a Magnifying Glass" supported by the Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic, „Citizens Aloud" supported by the NROS Foundation, and „Living Water" supported by the Partnership Foundation. Creation of the internet application and of the lists was financially supported also by the individual donors of Arnika to whom thanks are expressed not only by us, but also by new users of the web page http://www.znecitovatele.cz
Notes for the Editors:
(1) Dividing of the substances into groups - carcinogenic and probably and potentially carcinogenic substances, reprotoxins, mutagens, and others is put more precisely at http://arnika.org/hodnoceni-latek-v-irz.
(2) The Integrated Pollution Register (IPR) is operated, and data into it are collected, by the Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic via the Czech Environmental Information Agency CENIA. It may be found, and searched, at the address www.irz.cz. The data on the releases of selected chemical substances are reported by the individual companies themselves into the Register, because this duty is set upon them by the Act. Arnika then analyses the data, and prepares clearly organised lists of polluters which cannot be easily found in the Register. Presence in these lists, and their publication, often motivate the companies to eliminate emissions of harmful substances, and to introduce more environmentally-friendly technologies. In spite of that, there were already several attempts to limit the IPR, and, thus, the public right to information on environmental pollution. The last time this has happened within the framework of the so-called environmental audit, as the Ministry of Industry and Trade has wanted to reduce the number of the monitored substances, as well as of the companies obliged to submit reports. Arnika's pages concerning the IPR (including the lists from the previous years): arnika.org/registr-znecistovani , and the new internet application where people may create lists, for example, according to the place where they live: http://www.znecistovatele.cz