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Friday, January 31, 2003

A new international law improving the public’s right to know about levels of pollutants and their sources was finalised late yesterday after a final four-day round of negotiations at the UN in Geneva. The treaty involves countries from Europe, Central Asia + Canada, but not the United States who dropped out last year.

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, Senior Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council in the US said: “People have the right to know about the toxic chemicals coming from their local industrial facilities and this treaty will lay the groundwork for ensuring that right is met. Hopefully, Canada will lead the way in North America for facility-specific greenhouse gas reporting.”

The treaty requires detailed + public annual reports on a range of pollutants, including greenhouse gases, some pesticides, toxic metals, hazardous wastes + a limited number of industrial chemicals.

Industries required to report include power stations, the chemical industry, and waste management facilities. Information will also be available on the destinations of wastes sent to other countries.