Chemical industry reports on performance

The Chemical Industries Association (CIA) has reported mostly continued progress in 2000 against its environmental performance indicators.1 Members' involvement in the reporting exercise has steadily improved since it began in 1993, with the CIA claiming 97% of members' manufacturing sites now returning some data. But the proportion varies for each indicator.

Discharges of 27 "red list" substances to water are facing a continued squeeze - down to just 2.7% of their 1990 level.

The CIA has begun reporting other discharges to water, such as those of phosphorous and nitrogen compounds, but to date has stated only the number of sites discharging them with no data on quantities or significance. It has postponed plans to publish data on heavy metal discharges.

Emissions of volatile organic compounds, which contribute to smog formation, have been halved over the same period. But the CIA appears to have deferred plans to publish data on NOx and SOx emissions.

Production of "special" or hazardous waste fell by 12.5% to 707,000 tonnes between 1999 and 2000. Some 39% of special waste was burned with energy recovery or reprocessed. But non-special waste output rose by 23%, most of which was landfilled.

No data are available for energy efficiency in 2000 because the CIA says it is setting up a new electronic reporting system linked to its agreement with the Government under the climate change levy.

A black mark in the 2000 report is four fatalities - three of them involving contractors on member company sites. There were also seven prosecutions for environmental offences.

In 2000, 77% of responding manufacturing sites had a formal environmental management system in place, but only 29.5% of sites had externally certified systems.

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