Online environmental data on persistent organic pollutants (Dioxin-WS)

Published on: 14/06/2007
The contribution describes a Web Service for environmental data on persistent organic pollutants. The application Dioxine Web - Service supports access to these data and their evaluation on the basis of a defined role concept. Different groups of users are granted access to the database according to their rights. The concept includes a service that offers the possibility of interactive data input via an XML interface to allow data suppliers from competent Länder authorities in Germany, for example, to import additional measurement programmes with metadata and analysis results into the data-base.

Policy Context

International policy context: The Aarhus Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), 1998 The Stockholm Convention to protect human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants (POPs). 2004 REGULATION (EC) No 850/2004 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 29 April 2004 on persistent organic pollutants and amending Directive 79/117/EEC (POP-Verordnung (EG) Nr. 850/2004) REACH-Regulation from 1.06.2007, (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) proposes for the first time that chemicals used in the European Union be systematically tested for their impact on the environment and human health. Genfer AirConvention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution 2000 Regulation (EC) No. 2003/4/EG of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28.01.2003 National Policy context: •Environmental Information Act - Umweltinformationsgesetz vom 22. Dezember 2004 (BGBl. I S. 3704) •Act to Stockholm Convention from 23 May 2004 about persistent organic pollutants (POPs) •Protocol about spacious transnational air pollution concerning persistent organic compounds (POP-Protocol) of 9. April 2002 - BGBl II P. 803 from 16 April 2002. •Action plan for eGovernment 2010 in Germany

Description of target users and groups

Public: Evaluated, aggregated and assessed data of peristent organic pollutions in matters of time and spatial trends in figures and tables according to the requirements of the Environmental Information Act, Survey about more then 100 measurement programmes in Germany for several comartiments including human tissues. Basic knowledge about the chemicals of persistent organic pollutions, legislations and a glossar, actual informtion about theme relevant conferences and other websides dealing with this issues Federal States and competent authorities, administrations and ministries: Detailed data of measurement programmes, all metadata for sampling methods, sampling sites, chemical analysis and the analytic results with calculated toxicity equivalents according WHO, reports about the state of environment for persistent organic pollutants, Special and scientific user: all detailed data for more then 100 monitoring programmes in Germany with the meta - data, time and spatial data for rural and urban areas for several compartiments e.g. soil, amient air, biota, food staffs and human matricees as breast milk, possibilty to calculate this data according statistical functions, export of data in XML, Excel , import of data via a XML interface versus an dialog oriented data transfer

Description of the way to implement the initiative

For creating software solutions, which are matching the requirements, a methodical and established project management with standardized procedure in all project phases is indispensable. At project start we have defined indicators. During the conception phase the indicators will be used to concretize the objectives and to describe the project context. In the phase of implementation the indicators are important for controlling and progress monitoring. In the evaluation they are the base for measuring and rating of the results. In partnership to independent federal institutions (e.g., the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL)) and the German States, the Dioxins Database is operated by the Federal Environment Agency. Multi-channel issues: WWW.POP DioxinDB is a portal with static and dynamic information offer and password-protected look in for the special users groups and data-suppliers. From application evaluations can be provided in the form of further usable MS Office documents (word, excel ) automatically . The services can be merged and integrated into other portals of the Laender. The data import and export of metadata is based on the Standard ISO 19115. A flexible interface between the environmental data and the Metadata permits a very flexible evaluation. Statistical methods and check moduls for quality assurance are implemented. The automatic evalution of the data with toxicity equivalents according the World Health Organisation provides a better understanding of the analytic data. It is possible to compare several parameter of statistical functions.

Main results, benefits and impacts

The role of metadata (based on ISO-Standards and the requirements of Regulation of Inspire) grows with increasing integration, and these metadata are a key element in the creation of Web Services. For the evaluation, interpretation and assessment of the POP data it is especially this descriptive information a very important basis for users - who are no longer in direct personal contact with data suppliers - when interpreting and evaluating measured environmental parameters. This information is a prerequisite for integration with other metadata and environmental information systems and for the creation of a “network” of environmental and health data. The concept of a service-oriented architecture has an important role to play here, but also makes high demands on database quality and therefore, on quality assurance procedures. Once raised data have been used for environmental reports, scientific evaluations, political counselling and legislation. This data base of the WebService assists the policy decision makers to tackle issues concerning with this chemical substances. The awareness for the impact of chemical substances have been considered in several political fields – see the dirty dozen discussion in the Air Convention on Long-Range Transboundary of Air Pollution, the discussion in international panels e.g. the Wold Health Organisation (WHO) and OECD. The increase in value of environmental data results from the various possibilities of the context-referred evaluation. In our environment POPs are ubiquitary, so you have think outside your “own box”. In such a way the concept and realising of the webservice POP-dioxin-Database has an interdisciplinary approach to be collected data from different environmental compartments (soil, water, air, biota, waste, feed and food staffs and human tissues) in a central data management system. The application of the POP dioxin - data base provided the 3rd and 4th report of the Government/Laender working group on DIOXINS “Data on environmental pollution by dioxins” see: This data exchange on the pollution from persistent chlorinated organic substances serves primarily the following objectives as: § an overview of the level of environmental pollution, § to inform the public about the environmental state, § an indispensable basis for environmental goals and priority setting, § a technical basis in to derive practicable and scientifically-based benchmarks and limit values, and § a means of monitoring the success of political activities. Innovation: Consequently the technical and meta - datamodel of the WebServices is realized using the eXtended Markup Language (XML). Thus the WebService interfaces can be adapted to the need of the users under an economically way. The ISO 19115 interfaces possible offers the opportunity to make cross-linking with other Meta- Informationsystems. In our project with Environmental Object catalogue in Bavaria (UOK Bavaria: ) and environmental search machines like the PortalU – the German Search Engine for Environmental Information

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

SOA architecture, simple integrableness of other applications Technical concept is transferable to other specialized's applications Future IT-projects and applications in the Federal Environment Agency, which can be realized, orient themselves at the technical concept, the modular approach and the iterative prototyping.

Lessons learnt

An experience, which is confirmed unfortunately again and again: 1. There is less the technical difficulties, which make the implementation more difficult. But the fears of the administrations that its data are abused or deficits become recognizable. We learned the way of a realistic compromise to go out of it between: Publication of the data in connecting with data protection where it is necessary. 2. A faithful cooperation with data supplier, give a lot of information for the „owner“ of the data, What do we want to make with the data? An active dialog is to be organized between that administratively responsible person units. 3. The environmental problems from today are to be solved only by a holistic and cross-cutting view. In this spirit this approach is essential and necessary for this complex projects. Thus data organization is to be illustrated not on the basis of administrative criteria, You have to install an interdisciplinary project team. Scope: National