On 3 June 2009, the inauguration of the new German Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) took place with more than 130 guests at Radialsystem V in Berlin. PRTR now offers free of charge online information to all citizens on pollutants released into air, water, and soil by industrial facilities, such as the energy and chemical industry, but also by factory farming and big sewage treatment plants. The launch of the register has been organised by the Ecologic Conference Team; the scientific staff of Ecologic Institute has been acting as a consultant for the project since 2001.
On 3 June 2009 everything was ready for the big moment. After more than seven years of conceptualizing along with legal and practical preparation by the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA), the Landesanstalt für Umwelt, Messungen und Naturschutz Baden Württemberg (LUBW), and the Ecologic Institute, Michael Müller, Parliamentarian State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU), Dr Hans Bernhard Beus, Federal Commissioner for Information Technology, and UBA-Vice-President Dr Thomas Holzmann metaphorically and literally pushed the button together to launch the new German online register PRTR (Pollutant Release and Transfer Register).
The inauguration of the new online register, which took place at Radialsystem V in Berlin, has been organized by the Ecologic Conference Team in close cooperation with its scientific staff members, the UBA and the LUBW. Ecologic has already been acting as a consultant to the German Federal Ministry of the Environment since 2001 concerning the negotiations on the PRTR under the Aarhus Convention and it supported the creation of a legal basis for the PRTR in Germany.
R. Andreas Kraemer, director of the Ecologic Institute, presented the launch celebration, where more than 130 guests where the first to see the new online register. Representatives of the European Environmental Agency, the industry and environmental agencies explained their view on PRTR and reflected on future opportunities and challenges of the online portal. All speakers agreed that PRTR was an important step towards more transparency regarding environmental information in Germany. In order to present the PRTR even more appealing in the future, the Anhalt University of Applied Science (HA) presented the results of a design competition on possible styles of presenting the register.
Starting at 15:30, the participants of the inauguration could try out the PRTR themselves and visit information booths on PRTR. At the same time, all citizens got access to the new online register. The interest was huge. During the first two days after the inauguration alone, there were more than 45,000 visitors per day. The broad media coverage shows the big public interest for environmental information and promotes the PRTR as part of a comprehensive offer of information.