GUIDANCE ON INTEGRATED POLLUTION PREVENTION AND CONTROL
Basic Principles of Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control
1. The purpose of integrated pollution prevention and control is to prevent or minimise the risk of harm to the environment taken as a whole. This approach recognises the integrated nature of the environment by taking account of the effects of substances or activities on all the environmental media (air, water, soil), the living organisms (including people), that these media support and the stock of cultural and aesthetic assets. Important aspects of the integrated approach include:
a) Consideration of the whole life cycle of substances and products (the "cradle to grave" concept);
b) Anticipation of the effects in all environmental media of substances and activities (both new and existing) including consideration of multiple pathways to exposure and movement through the environment;
c) Minimisation of the quantity and harmfulness of waste;
d) The use of one common means, such as risk assessment, for estimating and comparing environmental problems; and
e) The complementary use of effects-oriented measures, such as environmental quality objectives, and source-oriented measures, such as emission limits.
Essential Policy Aspects
2. Certain policies, common to all aspects of environmental protection, are essential to an effective integrated approach. These include that:
a) Sustainable development, including energy conservation and the rational use of renewable resources, should be taken into account;
b) The development and application of no or low waste technology and of recycling strategies should be promoted;
c) Cleaner technologies should be applied and safer alternatives should be substituted for harmful substances;
d) The absence of complete information should not preclude precautionary action to mitigate the risk of significant harm to the environment;
e) The public should be informed and consulted in the evaluation of the health and environmental effects of substances and activities;
f) Environmental considerations should be integrated into private and public decision-making; and
g) Explicit compliance and enforcement policies should be adopted which are consistent and effective as between the different media.
Focuses for Decision-Making
3. The adoption of an integrated approach to pollution prevention and control entails a shift from traditional focuses for decision-making. The new focuses for an integrated approach include:
a) The substance;
b) The source (which can include industrial processes, products and economic sectors); and
c) The geographical region.
These new focuses are not mutually exclusive and may be used in combination with each other and with existing systems such as those based on a single medium approach.
4. While forms of legislation can vary widely, an approach which supports integration of pollution prevention and control should be a common feature of all legislation which affects the environment. Consideration should be given not only to specific environmental legislation, but also to legislation in other areas such as energy, transport, agriculture, forestry, mineral rights, development aid and taxes.
5. The institutional measures and administrative procedures necessary to implement an integrated approach include:
a) Changes in organisational structures and internal operational and decision-making procedures;
b) Establishment of co-ordinating mechanisms within and among government bodies; and
c) Arrangements for co-operating internationally and among different levels of government within countries.
6. Integrated pollution prevention and control can be achieved through a variety of management instruments. In considering the selection of such instruments, specific attention should be given to:
a) Issuing single permits, covering all releases and processes;
b) Linking environmental instruments with land-use planning and natural resource management systems and the regulation of services such as transport and other communications;
c) Undertaking environmental impact assessments for policy proposals and projects;
d) Policy planning to develop strategies to achieve overall improvement of environmental quality;
e) Establishing integrated inspection and enforcement authorities;
f) Using economic instruments;
g) Encouraging and/or subsidizing development of cleaner technologies; and
h) Covering whole life cycle issues in the development of industry management plans.
7. Technical methods used to support the development of integrated pollution prevention and control should themselves have an integrated character. Such technical methods include:
a) The analysis of each stage of the commercial life cycle of a substance or a product (from design through manufacture to disposal) and the environmental life cycle (including transformation and movement of chemical substances through the environmental media);
b) The analysis of multiple pathways of exposure;
c) The use of inventories of releases to all environmental media from installations coupled with inventories of inputs to enable a "mass balance account" to be drawn up; and
d) Monitoring of the condition of the environmental media, and the biota that they support, and the condition of cultural and aesthetic assets, in order to establish levels of degradation or the trends.