The Value of Statistical Data

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The Value of Statistical Data

Emissions, pollution loads to the seas and waste

Success in improving the environment depends on an ample supply of informa-tion about what affects it. By reporting and publishing statistical data on pol-lutant emissions to water and air, pollution loads to the seas and the volumes, movements and disposal of waste, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contributes a factual basis for understanding and planning to reduce envi-ronmental impact.


Requirements are imposed on the data compiled by the Swedish EPA’s Environmental Data Unit, and the data are received, by various stakeholders. The key ones are the Swedish Government and Parliament, the European Commission, the Euro-pean Environment Agency (EEA), Eurostat (the Statistical Office of the European Communities), the United Nations (UN), the Commission for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR), the Helsinki Com-mission (HELCOM, the Baltic Marine Environ-ment Protection Commission) and the Organisa-tion for Economic CooperaOrganisa-tion and Development (OECD).

Examples of conventions, EC Directives and EC Regulations requiring data to be reported are: – the Climate Convention (the UN Framework

Convention on Climate Change) and its associa-ted Kyoto Protocol (on industrialised countries’ commitments to reduce emissions)

– the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP)

– the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer

– the National Emission Ceilings Directive (on national emission ceilings for certain atmosphe-ric pollutants)

The map illustrates examples of emission data from the Agency, by county: here, data on emissions of nitrogen oxides to air in Sweden in 2007. Source: Official Statistics of Sweden 2009, Environmental Objectives Portal. 0–4,000 tonnes 4,000–8,000 tonnes 8,000–12,000 tonnes 12,000–18,000 tonnes > 18,000 tonnes

– the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (Council Directive 91/271/EEC concerning urban waste-water treatment)


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– the EU Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for the Community action in the field of water policy)

– the Aarhus Convention (the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmen-tal Matters), and its associated Kiev Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTR)

– the implementation of a European Pollutant Emission Register (EPER)

– the EU Waste Statistics Regulation (Regulation EC 2150/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2002 on waste statistics). The Swedish EPA participates in international negotiations and working groups on the reporting and use of data. Two aims of international cooperation are to enhance the quality of data and to rationalise the reporting process, in order to limit countries’ reporting burden and costs. We ensure that Sweden’s reports meet the requirements laid down in conventions and other regulations.

With growing international requirements on emission reporting, costs have risen as well. To enable Sweden to meet these requirements, the budget for compi-ling and reporting statistical data has been raised from SEK 16 million in 2001 to SEK 42 million (some €4.2m, May 2010) in 2010.


The data we collect relate to: – emissions to air

– discharges to water and pollutant loads on the seas – waste volumes and disposal.

One important source of statistical data on emissions to the environment is the information submitted to the supervisory authorities by businesses, in their an-nual reports on compliance with environmental permits. This information relates to environmentally hazardous activities that require permits under Chapter 9 of the Swedish Environmental Code.

Companies can themselves submit the data online at the Swedish Portal for Environmental Reporting (SMP), which is run by the Swedish EPA. Access to the-se particulars is unrestricted, enabling the public to learn about emissions to the environment, which are regulated in the Kiev Protocol of the Aarhus Convention. Registers and databases that are accessible online facilitate Sweden’s fulfilment of its commitments under this Convention. Pursuant to the Kiev Protocol, the EU is introducing an international web-based register of emissions; and the Swedish EPA’s emission register (The Swedish Pollutant Release and Transfer Register) contains information about emissions from major facilities in Sweden. The EPA’s Environmental Data Unit compiles data for both these registers.

To a high degree, we engage consultants to compile and develop the data and carry out quality assurance. One key data supplier is Swedish Environmental Emissions Data (SMED), a consortium of four organisations. These are the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), Statistics Sweden (SCB), the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL) and the Swedish Uni-versity of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). Data also come from such government he Swedish Energy Agency and the Swedish Board of Agriculture.


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agencies as the Swedish National Road Administration, the work includes ensuring permanent electronic archival of data to permit future follow-up of trends for emissions and pollution loads over time.

The Environmental Data Unit also coordinates the Swedish EPA’s work on Sweden’s official statistics. The areas concerned are emissions, waste, environme-ntal status and implementation of the Swedish Environmeenvironme-ntal Code.


The Swedish EPA reports quality-declared data to both national and internatio-nal recipients and makes data available to the public. At natiointernatio-nal level the data are, for example, used in reports to the Government and Parliament concerning Sweden’s progress towards the national environmental quality objectives. The information is presented in the de Facto report, an evaluation that the Environ-mental Objectives Council submits to the Government annually.

Data on emissions and pollution loads are also reported each year in the Government’s Spring Fiscal Policy Bill, to serve as a partial reflection of national trends in the environmental sector.


The aim, in accordance with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, is to stabilise concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at levels that do not involve a dangerous human impact on the climate system. One important way of using statistics on emissions to air is the Government’s regular follow-up of how well Sweden is complying with the Kyoto Protocol, which states how greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced. The findings are sent to the Euro-pean Commission and the UN.

The European Commission also carries out its own monitoring of whether the EU as a whole is fulfilling its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. This is done by the European Environment Agency (EEA), using statistics from the member states. The EEA reports these results in printed publications, including its report The European Environment — State and Outlook, and online.

The figure, showing Sweden’s total emissions of greenhouse gases (excluded LULUCF*) from different sectors in terms of CO2 equivalents, is an example of the Swedish EPA’s annual statistical reporting to the European Commission and the United Nations. Source: Sweden’s National Inventory Report, 2010.


The Swedish EPA reports to the EU on quantities of waste every other year. By statistical means, outcomes in Swedish waste management can be compared with targets set in the EU.

0 5 10 15 20 25 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Mt CO 2 equiv. Transport Energy industries Manufacturing industries Other sectors Agriculture Industrial processes Waste

Solvent and other products

*LULUCF: Land use, land-use change and forestry. The CO2 from the atmosphere that is stored in form of organic carbon in forest.


DISCHARGES TO WATER AND POLLUTION LOADS TO THE SEAS Sweden’s coasts and marine areas are affected by eutrophication, along with elevated levels of organic contaminants and certain heavy metals. We report an-nually, under several conventions and directives, on such matters as the quantities of nutrients entering the coastal and sea areas from various sources. The data are used to monitor the impact of international agreements to reduce emissions. They are also useful in planning measures for the marine environment, for example in the Baltic Sea Action Plan.

FIND OUT MORE about emissions, environmental impact, environmental

status and topical issues on the websites of the Swedish EPA (,, the Swedish Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (, Environmental Objectives Portal (, the European Environment Agency ( and Eurostat (http://epp.eurostat.

Contact: Susanna Schröder, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

The figure shows examples of data from the Swedish EPA’s official statistics. The bars show discharges of total phosphorus to water from municipal wastewater treatment plants (more than 2,000 person equivalents) from 1987 to 2008. Source: Official Statistics of Sweden, Statistical Report, MI 22SM 1001, 15 March 2010.

Discharges of total phosphorus to water

0,000 0,200 0,400 0,600 0,800 1,000 1,200 1987 1990 1992 1995 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 tonnes INFORMATION FACTS STATISTICAL DATA THIRD EDITION MAY 2010 ISbN 978-91-620-8483-7

Swedish EPA SE-106 48 Stockholm. Visiting address: Stockholm - Valhallavägen 195, Östersund - Forskarens väg 5 hus Ub, Kiruna - Kaserngatan 14. Tel: +46 8-698 10 00, fax: +46 8-20 29 25, e-mail: Internet: Orders Ordertel: +46 8-505 933 40, orderfax: +46 8-505 933 99, e-mail: Address: CM Gruppen, box 110 93, SE-161 11 bromma. Internet:




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