Key topics archive

Here are our previous key topics.


PRTR pollutants included in thru.de at a glance

As a new service, we are offering a volume of PRTR pollutants included in thru.de rovides a quick overview of data available since 2007.

You will find this volume in the download area of www.thru.de at:

Schadstoffe im PRTR – Situation in Deutschland für die Berichtsjahre 2007-2015

Pollutants of the PRTR – Situation in Germany for reporting years 2007-2015

Thru.de is the right place when searching for information about pollution releases and waste transfer by industrial facilities. Separated by industrial sectors you may search for facilities, which release one or more of the 91 pollutants listed in the PRTR either in your neighborhood or Germany-wide since 2007. It includes the release to air, water and land, off-site transfer in waste water and off-site transfer of hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Different options for searching are provided at www.thru.de as well as an interactive map and further information.

We now make it even easier for all interested people to get a general idea of the coverage of this database by providing a volume of all emitted pollutants covered by thru.de annually. The volume comprises an analysis of each pollutant of the most recent reporting year by summing-up the releases and off-site transfers in waste water caused by the responsible industrial sectors and the number of facilities involved. Two compact figures show the development since 2007 and allow an easy access to trends. This volume may be  seen as starting point for further investigations.

The German Environment Agency would like putting interested people in a better position when participating in discussions and decisions in environmental topics.

An updated version  of this volume that might also include, for example individual PRTR activities within industrial sectors, will be provided in the near future.

For feedback and questions, please send us an e-mail to mail(at)thru.de

 

 March 2017

 

 


New PRTR-data 2014 in thru.de

Summary report

Since 31.03.2016 data has been made available at www.thru.de/. This concerns data of the reporting year 2014 and corrected data covering the period 2007 – 2013 of the PRTR (Pollutant Release and Transfer Register).

Exactly 5.282 facilities in Germany exceeding threshold values reported data on pollutants and waste transfer operations.
 
We have compiled following information: pollutants most often released, source of the release, amount of hazardous waste reported. This report is available as pdf-document for download.

 
Growing number of facilities that are subject to reporting obligation

The number of facilities has grown from 4.495 to 5.282 in the period from 2007 to 2014 (see figure 1).


Figure 1: Total number of facilities by year

94% of facilities that provided data in 2014 were already reported in 2013. 342 facilities exited the register while 368 new facilities were added (see figure 2).

The main reason for the fluctuation was exceedance or falling below threshold values (c.f. E-PRTR-Regulation).


Figure 2: Number of phased-out facilities and facilities newly reported

 

The largest number of PRTR facilities were in North Rhine-Westphalia

As expected, the most populated federal state North Rhine-Westphalia and largest federal states Bavaria and Lower Saxony cover the majority of facilities while the city states Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg have the lowest number of facilities with reporting obligations (see figure 3).


Figure 3: Number of facilities by federal state 2014

 

Most facilities are subject to reporting due to waste transfer operations

Thru.de distinguishes releases to air, water and land, transfer of substances contained in waste water and transfer of hazardous and non- hazardous waste.

Figure 4: Most facilities (84%) in 2014 that reported data belong to the waste transfer sectors. More than 2/3 of all facilities transfer more than 2.0 tonnes of hazardous waste while 30% transfer more than 2.000 tonnes hazardous waste.

30% of facilities cause air pollution. The number of these facilities remained relative constant.

The number of facilities that release pollutants into waste water treatment plants (e.g. urban waste water treatment plants) was slightly larger than those with direct releases into water bodies. About 10% of both of these facilities are subject to reporting obligations.

The share of facilities that released substances into land remained very low (0.05%) for years.

Many facilities reported both release of substances and transfer of waste. Therefore, summing up of percentage may exceed 100%.


Figure 4: Number of facilities by compartments 2007-2014

 

Intensive animal farming and rearing caused high air pollution

About 1.502 PRTR facilities reported air pollution in 2014. More than 600 of these undertake intensive animal farming. Most reported were Ammonia emissions (NH3). About 50% of facilities for rearing of pigs (at least 2.000 pigs with more than 30 kg) exceeded the threshold value (10 tonnes ammonia per year).  These facilities released about 6.200 tonnes - the largest amount of ammonia in 2014 (see figure 5). 

Waste transfer sites (capacity >10 tonnes per day, total storage >25.000 tonnes) were the main sector of facilities that reported data within the sector “Waste and wastewater management”.

The energy sector came third with its thermal power stations and other combustion installations (>50MW) that cover 85% of all PRTR facilities’ reports.


Figure 5: Number of facilities releasing air pollution by sectors 2014

 

Urban waste water treatment plants release most substances into water bodies

About 391 PRTR facilities reported releases of substances into water bodies. 56% of these belong with 220 facilities to the sector „Waste and wastewater management”. Within this sector, about 206facilities have a capacity larger than 100.000 PE (population equivalent) thus were the main share of PRTR facilities reported data (see figure 6). 

The sector “Chemical industry” (52 facilities) and “Paper and wood production and processing” (33 facilities) scored second and third respectively of PRTR facilities reported data.

Note: Release to water bodies only included direct releases.


Figure 6: Number of facilities releasing water pollutants by sectors 2014

 

Chemical industry and Food industry caused the main releases to water bodies

About 417 PRTR facilities reported the release of substances into extern waste water treatment plants in 2014.

Chemical industry (147 facilities) and Food industry (143 facilities) caused the main releases to water bodies (see figure 7).

Within the sector “Food industry” about 59 facilities for treatment and processing of milk >200t/d make the largest share of PRTR reports.

Facilities for the production of basic organic chemical (mainly for basic plastics materials) make the largest share of reports from the chemical industry. 

Indirect discharger means discharge of pollutants contained in waste water outside the facility. This rule overwrites the indirect discharge regulation as the offsite transfer of waste water may also be done through mobile means (tank-trucks, container).


Figure 7: Number of facilities by sectors releasing pollutants into waste water 2014

 

The TOP10 pollutants and their causer

The 10 pollutants that cause the main releases into the environment (air, water, land, waste water) are our “TOP10 pollutants”. Figure 8 shows the main originating sectors that had large releases in 2014.

The main originator for Carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) was the energy sector, here the Thermal power stations and other combustion plants >50MW.

Chlorides (total amount of releases to air, water, land and waste water) were released from the mineral industry and the chemical industry in similar quantities. The release into land had the largest share with relevant amounts inserted into the ground (injection). Chlorides also stemmed from Waste and wastewater management facilities headed by urban WWTPs. 

The Metal industry was the main polluter of Carbon monoxide (CO) emissions. Nitrogen oxide (NOx) and Sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions stemmed mainly from the energy sector. The mineral industry, especially coal mining, was the main polluter of Methane (CH4) emissions followed by landfills.

Total organic carbon (TOC) was mainly released from the chemical industry, followed by food industry and Waste and wastewater management (mainly WWTPs). TOC covers the release into water plus amounts transferred with waste water. WWTPs released the largest amounts of Total nitrogen.

The sector “Other industries” released the largest amounts of Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC). This included facilities which use solvents for surface treatment (e.g. paint application facilities). Intensive farming was the main polluter of Ammonia emissions (NH3).


Figure 8: Share of sectors in TOP10 pollutants 2014

 

Ammonia emissions from intensive farming – the most reported pollutant

PRTR in 2014 contained 2.741 reports covering 36 air pollutants originated from about 1.502 facilities. (see figure 9).

Ammonia emissions were reported by about 679 facilities of which about 623 reports stemmed from intensive farming.

423 reports covered emissions of nitrogen (NOx) and 402 reports carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Reports for both pollutants came from the energy sector.


Figure 9: Number of air pollution reports 2014

 

Releases into water mainly stemmed from urban WWTPs

PRTR in 2014 contained 1.678 reports covering 40 water pollutants originated from about 391 facilities in this compartment. (see figure 10).

TOC was the most reported pollutant (234) followed by heavy metal reports for Zinc (233) and Nickel (203). Reports for all three parameters mostly stemmed from urban WWTPs: TOC with 161, Zinc with 164 and Nickel with 145.


Figure 10: Number of water pollution reports 2014

 

Releases into waste water mainly stemmed from food- and chemical industry

PRTR in 2014 contained 842 reports covering 32 water pollutants originated from about 417 facilities in this compartment (see figure 11).

TOC was mostly reported (327 reports) equally shared by food- and chemical industry.
With a noticeable interspace the pollutants Total phosphorus (89 reports) and Total nitrogen (65 reports) are following on position two respectively position three.


Figure 11: Number of waste water pollution reports 2014

 

Off-site transfers of waste slightly increased

About 4.330 facilities reported the transfer of waste in the year 2014 - an increase by 1,4% compared to 2013. Operators of facilities have to report the transfer of hazardous and non- hazardous waste if the amount exceeded either,

• 2 tonnes of hazardous waste or
• 2.000 tonnes of non- hazardous waste

The operator must also inform about the waste intended to be recovered or disposed.

In the year 2014, 2.005 facilities reported waste transfer of about 82,2 Mio. tonnes of non- hazardous waste and 3.959 facilities reported transfer of 13,3 Mio. tonnes hazardous waste.

More information can be found at:

http://www.thru.de/thrude/knowledge/pollutants-waste-industrial-sectors/?L=3

 

 More than 82 million tonnes of non-hazardous waste transferred

About 2.005 facilities reported the transfer of 93,2 Mio. tonnes non-hazardous waste in 2014.

Most of the reported came from 1.103 facilities belonging to the sector “Waste and wastewater  management” (total amount 48,3 Mio. tonnes). Within this sector “Facilities for recovery or disposal of hazardous waste having the capacity of >10 tonnes per day” 555 facilities had the biggest share (50%). These transferred about 27,1 Mio. tonnes, of which 25,8 Mio. tonnes were for recovery and 1,32 Mio. tonnes for disposal (see figure 12).  


Figure 12: Number of facilities by sectors for the transfer of non-hazardous waste 2014

 

Most of hazardous waste remained inland

About 3.959 facilities reported the transfer of total 13,3 Mio. tonnes of hazardous waste in 2014 of which 3.910 facilities (=98%) covered the transfer of about 13 Mio. tonnes in Germany.  About 114 facilities covered the transfer of hazardous waste abroad (see figure 13).

The operator must inform about the final destination of waste (name and address) transported cross-border.  Most of hazardous waste was transported to Belgium, The Netherlands and France.

Most of the facilities belong to sector “Waste and wastewater management”, metal industry came second. This was valid for the transfer of waste inland and abroad.


Figure 13: Number of facilities by sectors for the transfer of hazardous waste to inland/abroad sites 2014

 

Germany had the second most PRTR facilities in the EU

The big industrial nations United Kingdom (UK), Germany, France, Spain and Italy reported the most facilities in 2014.  The UK scored first with the only nation exceeded 6.000.  Germany came second with about 5.000 PRTR facilities. France, Spain and Italy reported between 3.000 and 4.000 facilities (see figure 14).


Figure 14: Number of facilities reported in the EU in 2014

There were a number of interesting questions received from the public, from scientists, policy makers and the industry, NGOs and others.  Answers to these questions are for download at:

Questions & answers to PRTR.


If you are interested in complex, cross-sectional analyses, please search the SQLite PRTR database. There you will also find short instructions for use of this database.

 
May 2016

 

 


New PRTR-data 2013 in thru.de

Summary report

Since 31.03.2015 data has been made available @thru.de. This concerns data of the reporting year 2013 and corrected data covering the period 2007 – 2012 of the PRTR (Pollutant Release and Transfer Register).

More than 5.000 facilities in Germany exceeding threshold values reported data on pollutants and waste transfer operations.

We have compiled following information: pollutants most often released, source of the release, amount of hazardous waste reported. This report is available as pdf document for download.

 

Growing number of facilities that are subject to reporting obligation

The number of facilities has grown from 4.452 to 5.166 in the period from 2007 to 2013 (see figure 1).


93% of facilities that provided data in 2013 were already reported in 2012.  377 facilities exited the register while 386 new facilities were added (see figure 2).

The main reason for the fluctuation was exceedance or falling below threshold values (PRTR Regulation).


The largest number of PRTR facilities were in North Rhine-Westphalia

As expected, the most populated federal state North Rhine-Westphalia and largest federal states Bavaria and Lower Saxony cover the majority of facilities while the city states Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg have the lowest number of facilities with reporting obligations (see figure 3).


Most facilities are subject to reporting due to waste transfer operations

Thru.de distinguishes releases to air, water and land, transfer of substances contained in waste water and transfer of hazardous and non-hazardous waste.

Figure 4: Most facilities (83%) in 2013 that reported data belong to the waste transfer sectors. More than 2/3 of all facilities transfer more than 2.0 tonnes of hazardous waste while 30% transfer more than 2.000 tonnes hazardous waste.

30% of facilities cause air pollution. The number of these facilities remained relative constant.

The number of facilities that release pollutants into waste water treatment plants (e.g. urban waste water treatment plants) was slightly larger than those with direct releases into water bodies. About 10% of both of these facilities are subject to reporting obligations.

The share of facilities that released substances into land remained very low (0.05%) for years.

Many facilities reported both release of substances and transfer of waste. Therefore, summing up of percentage may exceed 100%.


Intensive animal farming and rearing caused high air pollution

About 1.505 PRTR facilities reported air pollution in 2013. More than 600 of these undertake intensive animal farming. Most reported were Ammonia emissions (NH3). About 50% of facilities for rearing of pigs (at least2.000 pigs with more than 30 kg) exceeded the threshold value (10 tonnes ammonia per year).  These facilities released about 6.000 tonnes - the largest amount of ammonia in 2013 (see figure 5).   

Waste transfer sites (capacity >10 tonnes per day, total storage >25.000 tonnes) were the main sector of facilities that reported data within the sector “Waste and wastewater management”.

The energy sector came third with its thermal power stations and other combustion installations (>50MW) that cover 85% of all PRTR facilities’ reports.


Urban waste water treatment plants release most substances into water bodies

About 413 PRTR facilities reported releases of substances into water bodies. 53% of these belong to the sector „Waste and wastewater management”. Within this sector, about 205 facilities have a capacity larger than 100.000 PE (population equivalent) thus were the main share of PRTR facilities reported data (see figure 6). 

The sector “Chemical industry” (48 facilities) and “Paper and wood production and processing” (33 facilities) scored second and third respectively of PRTR facilities reported data.

Note: Release to water bodies only included direct releases.


Chemical industry and Food industry caused the main releases to water bodies

About 418 PRTR facilities reported the release of substances into extern waste water treatment plants in 2013.

Chemical industry (147 facilities) and Food industry (135 facilities) caused the main releases to water bodies (see figure 7).

Within the sector “Food industry” about 59 facilities for treatment and processing of milk >200t/d make the largest share of PRTR reports.

Facilities for the production of basic organic chemical (mainly for basic plastics materials) make the largest share of reports from the chemical industry. 

Direct discharge means discharge of pollutants contained in waste water outside the facility. This rule overwrites the direct discharge regulation as the offsite transfer of waste water may also be done through mobile means (tank-trucks, container).


The TOP 10 pollutants and their causer

The 10 pollutants that cause the main releases into the environment (air, water, land, waste water) are our “TOP10 pollutants”. Figure 8 shows the main originating sectors that had large releases in 2013.

The main originator for Carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) was the energy sector, here the Thermal power stations and other combustion plants >50MW.

Chlorides (total amount of releases to air, water, land and waste water) were released from the mineral industry and the chemical industry in similar quantities. The release into land had the largest share with relevant amounts inserted into the ground (injection). Chlorides also stemmed from Waste and wastewater management facilities headed by urban WWTPs. 

The Metal industry was the main polluter of Carbon monoxide (CO) emissions. Nitrous oxide (N2O) and Sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions stemmed mainly from the energy sector. The mineral industry, especially coal mining, was the main polluter of Methane (CH4) emissions followed by disposal sites.

Total organic carbon (TOC) was mainly released from the chemical industry, followed by food industry and Waste and wastewater management (WWTPs). TOC covers the release into water plus amounts transferred with waste water. WWTPs released the largest amounts of Total nitrogen.

The sector “Other industries” released the largest amounts of Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC). This included facilities which use solvents for surface treatment (e.g. paint application facilities). Intensive farming was the main polluter of Ammonia emissions (NH3).  


Ammonia emissions from intensive farming – the most reported pollutant

PRTR in 2013 contained 2.795 reports covering 36 air pollutants originated from about 1.505 facilities. (see figure 9).

Ammonia emissions were reported by about 669 facilities of which about 606 reports stemmed from intensive farming.

427 reports covered emissions of nitrogen (NOx) and 406 reports carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Reports for both pollutants came from the energy sector.


Releases into water mainly stemmed from urban WWTPs

PRTR in 2013 contained 1.758 reports covering 31 water pollutants originated from about 385 facilities in this compartment. (see figure 10).

TOC was the most reported pollutant followed by heavy metal reports for Zinc (237) and Nickel (210). Reports for all three parameters mostly stemmed from urban WWTPs: TOC with 167, Zinc with 162 and Nickel with 149.


Releases into waste water mainly stemmed from food and chemical industry

PRTR in 2013 contained 288 reports covering 26 water pollutants originated from about 418 facilities in this compartment (see figure 11).

TOC was mostly reported (327 reports) equally shared by food and chemical industry. 
With a noticeable interspace the pollutants Total phosphorus (93 reports) and Total nitrogen (66 reports) are following on position two respectively position three.


Off-site transfers of waste slightly increased

About 4.315 facilities reported the transfer of waste in the year 2013 - an increase by 1,25% compared to 2012. Operators of facilities have to report the transfer of hazardous and non- hazardous waste if the amount exceeded either,

• 2 tonnes of hazardous waste or
• 2.000 tonnes of non- hazardous waste

The operator must also inform about the waste intended to be recovered or disposed.

In the year 2013, 1.931 facilities reported waste transfer of about 93,2 Mio. tonnes of non- hazardous waste and 3.840 facilities reported transfer of 12,2 Mio. tonnes hazardous waste.

More information can be found at:
http://www.thru.de/thrude/knowledge/pollutants-waste-industrial-sectors/?L=3


More than 93 million tonnes of non-hazardous waste transferred

About 1.931 facilities reported the transfer of 93,2 Mio. tonnes non-hazardous waste in 2013.

Most of the reported came from 1.058 facilities belonging to the sector “Waste and wastewater  management” (total amount 43,1 Mio. tonnes). Within this sector “Facilities for recovery or disposal of hazardous waste having the capacity of >10 tonnes per day” 505 facilities had the biggest share. These transferred about 23,8 Mio. tonnes, of which 22,4 Mio. tonnes were for recovery and 1,4 Mio. tonnes for disposal (see figure 12). 


Most of hazardous waste remained inland

About 3.840 facilities reported the transfer of total 12,2 Mio. tonnes of hazardous waste in 2013 of which 3.799 facilities (=98%) covered the transfer of about 12 Mio. tonnes in Germany.  About 147 facilities covered the transfer of hazardous waste abroad (see figure 13).

The operator must inform about the final destination of waste (name and address) transported cross-border.  Most of hazardous waste was transported to Belgium, The Netherlands and France.

Most of the facilities belong to sector “Waste and wastewater management”, metal industry came second. This was valid for the transfer of waste inland and abroad.


Germany had the second most PRTR facilities in the EU

The big industrial nations United Kingdom (UK), Germany, France, Spain and Italy reported the most facilities in 2013.  The UK scored first with the only nation exceeded 6.000.  Germany came second with about 5.000 PRTR facilities. France, Spain and Italy reported between 3.000 and 4.000 facilities (see figure 14).


There were a number of interesting questions received from the public, from scientists, policy makers and the industry, NGOs and others.  Answers to these questions are for download at:
http://www.thru.de/information/questionanswer/?L=3

If you are interested in complex, cross-sectional analyses, please search the SQLite database. You will also find short instructions for use of this database at:
http://www.thru.de/thrude/downloads/?L=3

July 2015


Ammonia emissions from intensive rearing of pigs continue to be at high levels

Extensive emissions of Ammonia into the air remain a well-known problem for years. This has resulted in oversupply with nutrients, processes of acid deposition and the loss of biological diversity in ecosystems. The largest part of ammonia emissions in Germany is generated in the agricultural sector (95%), with 52% stemming from cattle farming and 20% from intensive rearing of pigs.

Between 1990 and 2012, ammonia emissions from the agricultural sector were reduced by about 22%. The main reason for this was the reduced number of animals as a result of reduced overall animal breeding practice in Germany after reunification. However, an opposing trend has been noticed about the intensive rearing of pigs. The number of pigs rose from 26.8 Mio to 28.3 Mio in the period from 2009 to 2012 (Source: Federal Statistical Office of Germany, Wiesbaden 2014, General Collection of livestock data, as of 15.08.2014). Germany has been producing considerably above inland demand and therefore developed towards a pork exporting country.

The analysis of recent data of the German PRTR (Pollutant Release and Transfer Register) confirmed the trend in ammonia emissions from intensive rearing of pigs as well as from installations, which are subject to international commitments on control of air pollution (see figure 1). The Register contains all German installations of intensive rearing of pigs with more than 2.000 places for production of pigs (over 30 kg) or with more than 750 places for sows and a threshold value above 10 tonnes of Ammonia per year. These installations have to inform the competent authority in case the threshold value was exceeded. The exceedance values will then be published in the Germany PRTR portal www.thru.de.


figure 1: Ammonia emissions from intensive rearing of pigs in German PRTR (2007-2012)

Data show an increase in ammonia emissions from 5.140 tonnes to 8.302 tonnes in the period from 2007 to 2012. With this, the number of installations exceeding the threshold rose from 268 to 403.

Lower-Saxony is the federal state with the largest number of installations of intensive rearing of pigs (87), followed by Saxony-Anhalt (65), Mecklenburg-Pomerania, (52), North Rhine-Westphalia (50), Saxony (50), Thuringia (48) and Brandenburg (44). Due to the small scaled agricultural structure in southern Germany, only a few installations have to report their emissions to the PRTR.

With the introduction of the Technical instruction for air quality control (TA-Luft), the German Government is planning to obligate the application of techniques to reduce air pollution from installations of intensive rearing of pigs (with more than 2.000 places). Special techniques, such as combined high-pressure washers, acid washers and slurry filter systems, do not only help to reduce ammonia emissions (more than 70%) but also odours and dust. Because of uncertainties in meeting the annual emissions limit value of 550.000 tonnes fixed by the NEC Directive (National Emissions Ceilings), Germany is obliged to introduce additional measures for ammonia emissions reduction. The EU has started treaty violation proceedings against Germany. The first part of the procedure involves verifying the state of play of detailed information to be delivered to the EU. The EU has proposed ambitious reduction targets for ammonia emissions and other pollutants to be achieved by 2020. These targets would require member states to introduce effective reduction measures. The negotiations are under way.

 


Abb. 2: Ammonia emissions from intensive rearing of pigs in Germany in 2012

Concerning ammonia emissions reduction, please also read the current press release of the Federal Environment Agency.

 

September 2014


Process started: You are kindly invited to take part in the process of drafting the report on the implementation of the PRTR Protocol in Germany

Currently we are drafting the report on the implementation of the international PRTR-Protocol and register in Germany. The protocol requires contracting parties to report on the national implementation of the register. The Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention / Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on PRTRs (30 June - 04 July 2014), will evaluate and document the state of the art of implementation by all parties.

Reports have to be submitted to the UNECE secretariat by mid December 2013.  The UNECE secretariat will compile all reports and draft a synthesis report to be presented at the Meeting of the Parties to be held in Maastricht, the Netherlands.

How can you participate in this process

The drafting of the report on the implementation of the international PRTR-Protocol and register in Germany is a transparent process involving the public. The first draft of the implementation report is available for comments at first draft of the implementation report, deadline 24 November 2013. The draft contains answers to the questions requested including background information.

You may submit your comments to mail(at)thru.de. All comments will be considered for the final version of the report. We are looking forward to your contribution. 

Under Downloads, you will find the decision (in EN and DE) on the implementation report released during the first PRTR-Conference held in 2010. The questions about the legal and practical implementation process are listed in the Annex of the decision.

Background information

The PRTR-Protocol requires contracting parties (signatories) to establish such registers for public access. 

The current register at http://www.thru.de/en provides air emissions data, pollution amount and waste amount of about 5.000 industrial facilities in Germany for the years 2007-2011. Operators of facilities have the obligation to report the releases of pollutants and the amount of waste, where these exceed certain threshold values specified in the PRTR protocol.

 

 October 2013


To top

Thru.de is Open Data!

Do you want to know the amount of pollutants released by the chemical facility in your city, or how much is discharged to the North Sea via rivers? How much of EU subvention has been received by the fattening facility in your village? You would like to listen again to decisions made by your local council because you are interest in a real estate for which you need standard land values in order to judge the prize offer? Perhaps you only want to know the departure of the tram.


Answers to these questions for the public may be included in “open data” provided by authorities, enterprises and other institutions. Open Data are accessible by everyone, free of charge and can be used for any purpose. Data provided by government bodies are called Open Government Data. German Federal states (e.g Rheinland-Pfalz, Hamburg) and communities (e.g. Neubrandenburg) have developed Open Data platforms available on the internet. Increasingly, mobile applications allow access to data Open Data (e.g. Bürgerportal Rostock, Berlin Open Data Guide). Of growing importance are geo-referenced data and basic maps like Openstreetmap, whose quality is as good as and partly better than products offered by commercial or official providers.


What does Open Data mean?

Open Data are available free of charge via the Internet, have structured and standardised formats and distinct URLs, and may have links allowing for correlation with other data. These criteria are called the 5-Sterne Modell für Open Data. Open Data is closely associated with special software, which by accepting the Lizenz can be used, disseminated or even altered by everybody. Well known examples are Wikipedia, the Linux operating system, the Browser Mozilla Firefox or OpenOffice. The software for the collection of PRTR data in Germany (BUBE) is based on an open source application. Operators and competent authorities, who are subjects to report, use BUBE. The data is published on www.thru.de. With this, BUBE has a leading role facilitating the cooperation between enterprises, operators of installations and competent authorities in Germany.

 


Open Data at Thru.de

Here you will find information about the amount of pollutants released from installations or facilities into the air or into water bodies and/or how much waste was generated and disposed. This data allows transparent comparison that help to make necessary decisions. We make sure everybody has access to comprehensive environmental information and can participate in decisions regarding environment protection. Data can be retrieved via simple search for individual items or a download of complete datasets. We also provide assessments, reports and background information free of charge. We exclusively use Open Source software for data collection and processing. We also apply the statistical programme R, the database system PostgreSQL and the free world map Openstreetmap. Thru.de is a classical example for Open Government Data. 

More information on Top Theme "Open Data"

A recent study funded by the German Ministry for Interior is available here.

The Federal Agency for Civic Education has released a Themendossier to Open Data.  

A selection of Open Data Projects is available at Open Data Showroom and was summarised under Govdata.

Additional information on Open Data is available in Open Data Handbuch.

 

 July 2013


Ammonia from intensive poultry production

Agriculture is the source of 94 per cent of ammonia emissions in Germany. The agriculture sector includes branches of business such as porker production, dairy farming or crop production and is accountable for a number of different environmental impacts. The most serious issue with ammonia in the environment is that it causes acidification and over-fertilisation of sensitive habitats such as forests, bodies of water or wetlands. Ammonia is formed during the decomposition of animal excretions (excrement and urine). Ammonia is present mainly in livestock housing and on fields that are fertilised with manure and slurry. A number of different measures have been taken to reduce ammonia emissions in livestock farming. In pig farming, protein-adapted feed in particular has led to lower ammonia emissions; similar results have been achieved in poultry farming through manure drying.
In 2010 the Federal Government established a threshold value for ammonia emissions of 550 kilotonnes per year. For some agriculture enterprises an ammonia threshold has been set at ten tonnes per year. Enterprises must report any exceedances of this level. This applies to e.g. farms that have a minimum capacity of 40,000 for poultry, a minimum of 2,000 (over 30 kilogrammes) for porkers or a minimum of 750 pigsties for sows. If a farm exceeds the emissions threshold of a pollutant, this information is disclosed on Thru.de.

More than 200 exceedances in 2010

In 2010 there were 203 farms in intensive poultry production alone which exceeded the threshold value for ammonia. That figure has hovered at around 200 for the last three years. The vast majority of the farms (85) are in Lower Saxony, followed by Saxony-Anhalt (30), Bavaria (17), Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (15), Saxony (14), Brandenburg (12) and Thuringia (11). The map below clearly shows the concentration of these farms in the northwest region of Lower Saxony, in Saxony-Anhalt – including northwestern Saxony – and in eastern Bavaria. The distribution of farms is more balanced in the other federal states.


The map covers all poultry farms that release an annual volume of more than ten tonnes of ammonia to the air, which reached a total of 6,056.6 tonnes in 2010. The different shading of the dots on the map reflects the relative scale of the ammonia emissions from the facility in 2010. Most of the poultry farms (106) release between ten and twenty tonnes of ammonia per year. Another 79 have emissions of between 20 and 50 tonnes each per year. There are only nine farms with emissions of 50 - 100 tonnes and another nine with more than 100 tonnes.

 

March 2013


Mercury from industrial facilities in Germany

Mercury and its compounds are highly toxic for ecosystems, animal life and humans. Methylmercury has the highest toxicity and bioaccumulates in fish and shellfish in particular. This is also how it enters our food chain.

Although mercury is released from natural sources such as volcanoes, it is also formed in industrial processes, particularly during the burning of fossil fuels such as coal for the production of energy. These gaseous emissions are airborne and are spread across international borders. Since many new coal power plants are expected to be built worldwide, a continued increase of mercury emissions in the next decades is likely. In addition, mercury is present in many different products. It is also used in gold mining, in the chlor-alkali industry to manufacture essential chemicals and in compact fluorescent lamps.

The danger associated with mercury came to light through Minamata disease, named after the Japanese city where thousands of people suffered chronic mercury poisoning in the 1950s and even caused death in some cases. At the time, a chemical factory was releasing mercury in its wastewater into the Yatsushiro Sea. The methylmercury bioaccumulated in the local population's food and caused the poisoning. The damaging effects of mercury on human health have been undisputed ever since.

The EU has focussed attention on the mercury problem for a long time. It launched a Mercury Strategy in 2005 to limit releases of mercury to the environment. However, the EU has not yet established a critical limit for mercury releases from power plants.

The United Nations agreed a Convention to limit worldwide emissions and releases of mercury on 19 January 2013. Its aims include the reduction of global emissions from power plants and the metal industry.
The mercury volumes published in Thru.de are contained in PRTR Reports: facilities that have mercury emissions to the air of more than ten kilogrammes per year and which release more than one kilogramme per year to water, wastewater or to soil must submit such a report.

 


Die Abbildung zeigt ein Säulendiagramm. Jede Säule stellt die Quecksilbermengen in den Jahren 2007 bis 2010, bestehend aus Ihren Anteilen für die Umweltkompartimente Luft, Wasser und Abwasser dar.
Abb. 1: Jahresmengen von Quecksilber

The number of facilities that exceeded the mercury threshold declined slightly from 193 to 179 in 2007 - 2009, followed by an increase to 185 facilities in 2010. This trend is also reflected in total amounts (see Fig. 1). Mercury emissions to air are by far the greatest amounts, with releases in wastewater to external wastewater treatment plants and discharges to bodies of water lagging far behind. Deposits onto soil have not yet been reported by any facility. Most of the mercury that is released in wastewater to external wastewater treatment plants is extracted from the wastewater at the plant. The mercury is therefore not released to bodies of water but is instead disposed of with sewage sludge. This is why the sum of the different amounts does not equal total amount for Germany. 

The distribution of mercury emission amounts (to air, wastewater and water) across various sectors (see Fig. 2) shows that the energy sector accounts for the greatest share (65 per cent). The metal industry follows with 14%, the minerals processing industry with 8%, the chemical industry (7%), and waste and wastewater management (5%). The paper and wood industry's share of one per cent is the lowest. Within the energy sector the 51 power plants represented are by far the main sources of emissions. These power plants are almost exclusively fired with hard coal or lignite. The metal industry mainly includes facilities (8) that manufacture pig iron or steel.


Die Abbildung zeigt die Anteile der verschiedenen Industriebranchen an den Quecksilbermengen, die in Luft oder Wasser freigesetzt werden oder mit dem Abwasser in externe Kläranlagen verbracht werden. Der Balken ist entsprechend der Anteile der Branchen u
Abb. 2: Branchenanteile der Quecksilbermengen

The regional distribution of the facilities in Figure 3 also reflects the distribution across industry sectors. The facilities with the highest mercury emissions to air are in central Germany, in the Lausitz and Rhine coal fields, and all are power plants. The concentration of facilities in the Ruhr area is amplified by the many metalworking facilities that are also located there.  


DIe Abbildung zeigt eine Deutschlandkarte, in der alle Standorte von Industriebetrieben markiert sind, an denen Betriebe mit Quecksilber mengen in Luft, Wasser oder Abwasser stehen. Die Betriebe sind dabei in 4 Klassen eingeteilt: 10 bis 100 kilogramm pro
Abb. 3: Quecksilbermengen von Betrieben in Deutschland

The five facilities with the highest volume of mercury emissions (TOP 5, Table 1) are located in Saxony (SN), Brandenburg (BB), North Rhine-Westphalia (NW) and Lower Saxony (NI). The TOP 5 facilities, with the exception of Weser-Metall, release mercury to air. These four facilities are in the energy sector and are all lignite-fired power plants. Weser-Metall is the only facility in the TOP 5 in the metal industry. Its only mercury releases are in wastewater to external wastewater treatment plants. Their mercury figures have declined significantly since 2008.

 

Table 1: Facilities with the highest mercury volumes (kg/a)

NameTownSector2007200820092010

Vattenfall Lippendorf

Böhlen (SN)

Energy

325

686

1070

1160

Vattenfall Jänschwalde

Peitz (BB)

Energy

500

425

348

592

RWE Niederaußem

Bergheim (NW)

Energy

548

442

467

499

Weser-Metall

Nordenham (NI)

Metal industry

288

712

598

428

RWE Weisweiler

Eschweiler (NW)

Energy

439

412

276

271

 

What is particularly striking is the strong increase in emissions at the Vattenfall power plant Lippendorf in Böhlen since 2010. Starting in 2009 its reported emissions have been nearly twice as high as those of the second highest polluter, and the second highest polluting facility in 2010 is the largest lignite power plant in Germany: the Vattenfall power plant Jänschwalde in Peitz has an installed capacity of 3,000 megawatts. According to its operator, technical mitigation measures have in the meantime been implemented at the power plant Lippendorf in Böhlen, and they thereby reduced the annual load in 2011 to levels below those in 2008.

The role that coal power plants play in the mercury strategy was discussed in a presentation and paper at the 44th Colloquium of Power Plant Technology on 23-24 October 2012 in Dresden. The paper can be downloaded here.

The Federal Environment Agency carried out a representative survey to determine mercury exposure in adults and children in Germany by taking samples from the Environmental Specimen Bank of the Federal Government. To read more about this pan-European survey see the press release on the Federal Environment Agency website.

In addition to the data in Thru.de, you can find more detailed information about mercury on the website of the Environmental Specimen Bank.

You can listen to a radio interview by the Federal Environment Agency about the global mercury situation here.

 

February 2013


How many facilities does Thru.de cover?

The number of facilities rose from 4,448 in 2007 to 4,947 in 2010. Only facilities in certain sectors of industry which exceed a specified production volume or level of performance are required to report their pollutant releases and waste amounts on Thru.de. They must only report the types of waste and pollutants when they exceed the respective, established threshold levels..


Das Bild zeigt ein Balkendiagramm. Die Höhe der Balken stellt die Anzahl der Betriebe in Thru.de für die Berichtsjahre 2007 bis 2010 dar. Die Anzahl nimmt dabei von 4448 auf 4947 zu.

The majority of facilities in Thru.de – some two-thirds – dispose of more than two tonnes of hazardous waste per year. Some 30% dispose of 2,000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste per year. A somewhat smaller proportion registers air pollution. Water pollution and discharges through wastewater (e.g. to municipal wastewater treatment plants) are reported by about 10% of the facilities. The number of facilities reporting water pollution is dropping slowly, whereas the number with pollutant discharges in wastewater seems to be on the rise. The share of facilities with pollutant inputs to soil is nominal at a mere 0.1%. Most of the facilities can be classified into more than one category, e.g. both 'hazardous waste' and 'air pollution'. As a result, the sum of the per cent figures shown here is not 100% but rather higher.


Die Grafik zeigt ein Liniendiagramm, in dem die Anzahl der Betriebe, die für die einzelnen Kompartimente  (Abfall gefährlich, Abfall ungefährlich, Freisetzung Luft, Freisetzung Wasser, Verbringung mit dem Abwasser und Freisetzung Boden) Daten angegeben

The ten pollutants with the largest volumes of inputs to the environment (air, soil, water, wastewater) make up our "Top 10 Pollutants". The figure for 2010 clearly shows that a 'major polluter' can be identified for most of these pollutants. 'Major polluter' refers to a sector of industry whose share of the pollution reported in Thru.de is particularly high.

The major polluter by far for carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) is the energy industry. The second highest-ranking chlorides are caused in almost equal part by the chemical industry and the minerals processing industry, followed by waste and wastewater management (municipal wastewater treatment plants in particular). It should be noted that total chloride volumes owe to discharges into water, inputs to soil as well as to releases in wastewater.

The major polluter for carbon monoxide emissions (CO) is the metalworking industry. The minerals processing industry – and coal mining in particular – is the major polluter for methane emissions, closely followed by waste and wastewater management and landfills in particular. Nitrogen oxide and sulphur oxide emissions, similarly to CO2, originate mainly in the energy industry, although their lead over the next closest sectors is much narrower.

The main sources of total organic carbon (TOC) are the chemical industry, the food industry, and the paper and wood industry. However, waste and wastewater management, especially wastewater treatment plants, were also responsible for a large share of TOC volumes. Emissions to water and discharges in wastewater are grouped together in this graph. Wastewater treatment facilities are also the major polluters for total nitrogen.

The sector "Other industries" had the largest share of non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) emissions. This sector includes facilities where surfaces are coated with solvents, such as automobile manufacturers and paint shops in particular. Intensive livestock production is the clear leader in ammonia emissions (NH3). The chemical and minerals processing industries represent smaller shares.


Das Bild zeigt die Schadstoffe mit den größten Mengen in Thrude sowie die dazugehörigen Branchen. Hauptverursacher sind gut zu erkennen und im Text genauer erläutert

The Top 10 List focuses on pollutants of which the various industries emit especially high volumes to the environment. However, it also pays to research Thru.de for pollutants reported in very small amounts. These are often very problematic substances such as dioxins and furans, PCB as well as heavy metals such as mercury or cadmium, which can be hazardous to the environment in even the smallest of concentrations.

 

December 2012


European PRTR activated in November 2009

Similarly to Germany, the EU also activated its own Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR). On 9 November 2009 the EU launched open online access at http://prtr.ec.europa.eu to information about the pollutant loads and waste volumes of more than 24,000 industrial facilities in the 27 EU Member States, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. The same 91 pollutants and 65 sectors of industry in the German PRTR are reported in the E-PRTR (see also here).         
Read the EU Press release and a press release by the European Environment Agency about the launch of the E-PRTR.


PRTR Protocol enters into force in October 2009!

The PRTR Protocol entered into force on 8 October 2009, 90 days after deposit of the 16th instrument of ratification by France on 10 July 2009. See here for the current Status of ratification, the ratification chart and the UNECE Press Release.

Ratification of the PRTR Protocol commits Protocol countries to establish and operate a national Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) in accordance with the requirements of the PRTR Protocol. Germany ratified the PRTR Protocol in August 2007. The German PRTR was activated and went online on 3 June 2009. The EU has also ratified the PRTR Protocol and thereby also committed to set up a European register (E-PRTR). The EU Member States had to report their PRTR data to the EU by 30 June 2009. The EU Register was launched on 9 November 2009.


Opening ceremony launches German PRTR on 3 June 2009 in Berlin

The German PRTR was activated online on 3 June 2009. Parliamentary State Secretary Michael Müller of the Federal Ministry of Environment, State Secretary Dr. Hans-Bernhard Beus of the Federal Ministry of the Interior acting as Federal Government Commissioner for Information Technology, and Vice-President Thomas Holzmann of the Federal Environment Agency acting as host of the event jointly launched Germany's pollutant release and transfer register.
The act represents a big step made towards more transparency in environmental information. Anybody and everybody can now access free information online about pollutant emissions and the amounts of waste disposed of in their vicinity. At the same time the use of process chains by facilities and quality assurance by competent authorities will help to cut red tape.
The German PRTR registered more than 50,000 hits in the first two weeks after its activation. You can download the programme of the opening ceremony here.
 .


Dr. Holzmann, parlamentarischer Staatssekretär Müller und Staatssekretär Dr. Beus beim gemeinsamen Knopfdruck zur Freischaltung des deutschen PRTR am 3.6.09

Dr. Holzmann, Parliamentary State Secretary Müller and State Secretary Dr. Beus at the collective touch of the button to launch the German PRTR *


Prämierung der Studierenden von Prof. Christ und Frau Hußlein der Hochschule Anhalt, die am PRTR-Design-Wettbewerb teilgenommen haben, durch Frau Dr. Markard (UBA) am 3.6.09.

Prize award ceremony for students of Prof. Christ and Ms Hußlein of the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences, contestants in the PRTR design contest, handed over by Dr. Markard (UBA)*


PRTR zum selbst Ausprobieren an einem der 3 Demostände während der Feier.

... and finally: hands-on testing of PRTR at one of three demonstration stands at the event *

*  © 2009 Eberhard Schorr


Federal Environment Agency and Federal-Länder cooperation

We at the Federal Environment Agency manage the Thru.de Internet portal. We inform you here about the scale of pollution released by some 5,000 industrial facilities. We cooperate with the competent authorities within the federal states who receive the data from the facilities and review them for quality. The software that the facilities use to record and transmit data to the competent authorities is called BUBE, a German abbreviation for the reporting system. BUBE was developed by the federal states and UBA and funded equally by the two sides.

Notice:

  • The terms 'PRTR' and 'Pollutant Release and Transfer Register' are used at international and EU level. Some of the national PRTRs have adopted their own names; see PRTR international link;
  • The data published in the portal about individual facilities is collected on the basis of the EU E-PRTR Regulation of 2006;
  • The data on emissions from diffuse sources that is published in the portal comes from various sources of the Federal Environment Agency, the federal states and elsewhere. The many small sources of emissions such as a single passenger car are called 'diffuse sources'. Although it would be very labour-intensive and costly to obtain individual reports from these emission sources, the sum total of transport emissions, for example, plays a significant role as a source of nitrogen oxide emissions. 

 

December 2012


PRTR becomes Thru.de

The Thru.de Internet portal provides you with a lot of information about the quality of the environment – or more precisely, about how much pollution industrial facilities are releasing into the environment and how much waste they are disposing of off-site. The name Thru.de stands for clarity, transparency, reliability and credibility. In Norse mythology, Thrude was the goddess of trees and flowers. Her name means 'strength'.

This Internet portal offers reliable, transparent and 'powerful' data on

  • how many pollutants individual industrial facilities are releasing to air and water and how much waste they dispose of off-site,
  • the levels of environmental pollution from the transport sector, agriculture and households, and
  • it points to links with more information about the quality of the environment.

The Thru.de portal has now replaced what had formerly been the PRTR on the Internet since June 2009. PRTR stands for 'Pollutant Release and Transfer Register'. Although the staff at industrial facilities and public authorities who are responsible for data collection and quality assurance have become familiar with the term PRTR in recent years, citizens’ comments revealed that it means very little to most members of the public – and they are in fact the target of the information.

 

December 2012