EEA18 Emissions of primary particulates (PM10) and secondary particulate precursors
Assessment made on 01 Jan 2003
ClassificationAir pollution (Primary theme)
Policy issue: Are emissions of particulates decreasing?
Total EU15 emissions of fine particulates have been reduced by 36% between 1990 and 2001. This is mainly due to reduction in emissions of the secondary particulate precursors SO2 and NOx, but also to reductions of primary PM10 from energy industries.
EU emissions of fine particles have been reduced by 36% from 1990 to 2001. The total emission reduction between 2000 and 2001 was 1.1%. The most important sources of fine particle emissions in 2001 were road transport (27%) and the energy industry (23%) sectors. Emissions of NOx (53%) and SO2 (20%) were the most important contributing pollutants to particulate formation in 2001.
The emission reductions between 1990 to 2001 are mainly due to abatement measures in the energy industries (-55%), road transport (-29%) and energy use from industry (-40%). The majority of the reduction in emissions of energy-related particulate pollutants between 1990 and 2001 came from the energy supply sector, although the other sectors also decreased emissions significantly during this period as indicated above. Overall, the reduction in emissions of energy-related particulate pollutants was mainly achieved through a combination of the use of lower sulphur content fuels, fuel switching from coal and oil to natural gas, the deployment of emission abatement technologies in the energy supply (see EN09-EU for further details about emissions of SO2 and NOX from public electricity production) and industry sectors, and an increased market penetration of catalytic converters for road vehicles.
Emissions of primary PM10, and secondary PM10 precursors are expected to decrease in the future as improved vehicle engine technologies are adopted and stationary fuel combustion emissions are controlled through abatement or use of low sulphur fuels such as natural gas. Despite this it is expected that in the near future in the majority of the urban areas over the EU15 territory PM10 concentrations will still be well above the limit values, mainly as a result of the continued growth of road transport.
Substantial further reductions are needed to reach the limit values set in the EU First Daughter Directive to the Framework Directive on Ambient Air Quality.
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This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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