Water Pollution

Water quality in the Danube River Basin is largely influenced by the inputs of pollutants caused by human and natural activities - particularly excessive nutrients, organic material, and hazardous substances. This page is an overview article on them. You can find more in-depth information on special pages on specific forms of pollution issues: Accidental Pollution - Eutrophication - Hazardous Substances - Nitrogen - Nutrients - Organic Pollution - Phosphorus - Wastewater.

What the ICPDR is doing

The challenge of the ICPDR is to design an effective and manageable emission inventory facilitating monitoring, comparison and improvement of environmental performance for use by decision-makers and the general public.

The public gains awareness and understanding about emissions in their communities and views emission reporting programs as trusted and valuable sources of information. The availability of information on emission inventory on ICPDR’s web page will provide the public with a tool to communicate with industry and governments.

Emission inventories

Emission inventories (municipal, agriculture and industrial emissions in the Danube River Basin) are databases, which contain basic information on the pollution and supporting data such as the methods used for the measurement, the type of treatment of wastewater, and expected reduction of pollution. Collection of input data needs to be performed in a way that supports any emission relevant decision. Stringent quality criteria need to be introduced in emission inventories as to specifically assure their accuracy, completeness, consistency and comparability.

Emission inventories 2002

The ICPDR’s Emission Inventory 2002 considers point and diffuse sources of pollution in the whole Danube River Basin. It is not limited to industrial emissions but goes beyond industrial releases and considers environmental emissions from other sources including the agriculture and municipal sector.

Facts and Figures

  • Municipalities and industry released fewer pollutants in 2002 than in previous years, thanks to the reduced use of polluting production processes, increased investments from governmental and private sources in the water sector, and higher pollution charge rates, which now directly affect the polluters.
  • In 2002, reports were submitted by the Austrian authorities for 240 municipal wastewater treatment plants and a similar number of industrial wastewater treatment plants, up from 79 municipal and just 13 industrial plants in 2000.
  • Likewise, Romania registered emissions from 116 municipal and 87 industrial wastewater treatment plants in 2002, compared to 52 municipal and 100 industrial plants in 2000.

Emission Inventories

In almost all the countries in the Danube River Basin the public have a statutory right to receive information about any polluting emissions in their local communities, and have free access to emission data in national pollutant release and transfer registers, thanks to the recent signing of the legally binding international Kiev Protocol in 2003.

The Kiev Protocol exerted significant pressure towards reductions in pollution, as companies do not want to be identified as being among the biggest polluters.

Other pollution emission registers include the European Pollutant Emission Register (EPER), which was launched in February 2004, and reports on 50 substances emitted to air and water from 56 industrial activities. A more comprehensive version, the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) has replaced EPER in 2009. Its first reporting year was 2007. The European PRTR will provide information about releases of pollutants The European PRTR will report on more than 91 substances released to air, waterand land from 65 activities, from specific industrial facilities, and by country.



  • European Pollutant Emission Register
    EPER is the European Pollutant Emission Register - the first European-wide register of industrial emissions into air and water. It gives you access to information on the annual emissions of approx. 10000 industrial facilities in the Member States of the EU.

Share this page