National Pollutant Inventory

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The National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) is a database of Australian pollution emissions managed by the Australian Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments. A condensed version of the information collected is available to the public via the NPI website


The NPI records and makes publicly available the emissions from industrial facilities and diffuse sources of 93 different chemical substances to air, land and water.


The objectives of the NPI are to:

Sources of data[edit]

Australian industrial facilities that use certain amounts of the 93 NPI substances must estimate and report their emissions directly to their state or territory environment agency annually. The state and territory environment agencies review all NPI reports for accuracy and forward the data to the Australian Government. The reports are then displayed on the NPI public website


The following industrial activities are exempt from the NPI's mandatory reporting requirements:[1]

  • Mobile emission sources (for example, an aircraft in flight or a ship at sea) operating outside the boundaries of a fixed facility
  • Petrol stations
  • Dry cleaners which employ less than 20 people
  • Scrap metal handling facilities that do not reprocess batteries or engage in metal smelting
  • Agricultural production facilities, including the growing of trees, aquaculture, horticulture or livestock raising unless it involves intensive livestock production (for example, a piggery, poultry farm or a cattle feedlot) or processing agricultural produce.

During a review of the NPI undertaken in 2005, it was suggested that two industries have their exemptions lifted. They were aquaculture, and crematoria. Reasons given were for their discharges of nutrient to the sea, and mercury to the atmosphere respectively. In 2007, Environment Ministers voted against the lifting of the reporting exemption for aquaculture, despite the review receiving 12 submissions supporting the recommendation, and 5 opposing it.

Aquaculture in Spencer Gulf[edit]

This omission of the aquaculture industry from mandatory reporting is significant for Spencer Gulf, South Australia. In this region, southern bluefin tuna and yellowtail kingfish sea-cage aquaculture are the two largest industrial contributors of nitrogenous nutrient pollution to the marine environment.[2] The Spencer Gulf is particularly vulnerable to impacts because its water exchange with the ocean is constrained and the waters are naturally very low in nutrients by world standards. The existing marine communities have evolved to these unique circumstances, and are therefore particularly susceptible to changes in their environment.[3] Iconic marine species of the region include the giant Australian cuttlefish and the little penguin, both of which are in decline.

Substances reported[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ NPI data | National Pollution Inventory Australian Government, Department of Environment, Australia. Accessed 2014-03-23
  2. ^ "Chapter 13 - Coastal Processes and Water Quality - Spencer Gulf Port Link Bulk Commodies Export Facility Environmental Impact Statement" Archived 2014-01-27 at the Wayback Machine Spencer Gulf Port Link, South Australia (2013). Accessed 2014-03-23.
  3. ^ Draft Spencer Gulf Marine Plan. Coast and Marine Conservation Branch, Natural and Cultural Heritage, Department for Environment and Heritage, Government of South Australia, Adelaide (2006). ISBN 0 7590 1081 1