Friday, November 30, 2007

Chile’s National Environmental Commission (CONAMA) launches new website that contains detailed information about Chile’s most egregious polluters.

(Nov. 30, 2007) Chile’s National Environmental Commission (CONAMA) launched Thursday a new website that contains detailed information about Chile’s most egregious polluters. According to CONAMA, the webpage is intended to both improve transparency and increase citizens’ awareness about environmental issues.

The website, dubbed Emissions Register and Contaminants Transference (RETC), will contain profiles of more than 5,000 businesses based on information from 2005 to the present. Each profile will include details of the companies’ emissions records, incidents of chemical or other potentially hazardous leaks, and energy efficiency records. Additionally, the web site will include a forum where citizens can ask follow-up questions regarding the posted information.

CONAMA officials say that the site’s information, available only in Spanish, will be complied from other governmental organizations. For example, emissions information will come from the Health Ministry, National Statistics Institute (INE), the Santiago Metropolitan Region Sanitation Authority, and the Inter-ministerial Secretariat of Transportation Planning (SECTRA). Still, officials say that the data will not be fully available until mid December.

CONAMA also said the website has thus far received more than US$1 million in financing from a variety of domestic and international organizations, but did not disclose the names of specific donors.

Environmental NGOs reacted favorably to the creation of this new webpage, which they say could revolutionize citizen’s knowledge about Chile’s environment.

“This is the tip of the iceberg in terms of understanding the country’s environmental conditions. The fact that we now have access to this information allows us to become far more familiar with the country’s reality,” said Samuel Leiva, a Greenpeace Chile representative. “We will also be able to see if companies improve or worsen their records.” Leiva said not only Chile’s government, but NGOs and common Chilean citizens will now be able to monitor business practices.

For more information about the new website:

Here is the full article.