Activating Environmental Information – Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for India

Research Team: Rajesh Rangarajan
LEAD Centre: Centre for Development Finance (CDF)
Focus Area: Environment and Climate Change
Project Geography: India


The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) is a publicly available database that contains detailed information on toxic chemical releases (emissions, effluents & hazardous waste & other waste management activities) reported periodically by government and private industries. The goal of a TRI is to empower citizens through information and hold companies and local governments accountable in terms of how toxic chemicals are managed.

In India, a Supreme Court order in October 2003, relating to hazardous waste management, states:

70.11. (11) Publication of Toxic Inventory & Community Participation:- SPCBs take steps to ensure that relevant important information on Hazardous Wastes should be displayed on notice boards and newspaper and communicated through radio, television and the Internet. SPCBs should ensure that all industries involved in hazardous chemicals and generating hazardous wastes display online data outside the main factory gate, on quantity and nature of hazardous chemicals being used in the plant, water and air emissions and solid wastes generated within the factory premises. If such data is not made available, the unit should be asked to show cause or even be asked to close down.

However, a recent Right to Information response by the Central Pollution Control Board in this matter reveals that there has been no progress on the court order. Taking this opportunity CDF is exploring means to draw attention to this issue and is seeking to partner with like-minded organisations to catalyse the development of this important inventory. The approach will be in 3 phases:

Phase 0: A short piece of action research to review the status of implementation of Supreme Court orders on the preparation of National Toxics Inventory for India

Phase 1: Exploring partnerships to create and deploy a pilot level TRI in consultation with civil society

Phase 2: Activating civil society and environmental NGOs to ensure effective scale-up and implementation

Related Resources
WORKING PAPER – Toxics Release Inventory for India; A discussion Paper