Emission of ozone precursors
Assessment made on 01 Jan 2001
ClassificationAir pollution (Primary theme)
Policy issue: Are we reaching emission targets for substances which create ground-level ozone?
Ozone precursors such as non-methane VOCs, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and atmospheric methane help form ground level ozone. A few daysï¿½ exposure to high levels of ozone can trigger a range of health problems, particularly lung and allergy problems among the very young and very old. Long-term exposure to moderate levels may also lead to weaker lungs in young children, while plants can also be affected.
The 22% drop in ozone precursor emissions in the EU overall between 1990 and 1998 was mainly due to two factors: the widespread introduction of diesel and catalytic converters in road vehicles, and the implementation of the Solvents Directive by industry. This reduction was not evenly shared across Europe, however, with emissions actually increasing in Portugal and Greece.
Despite this fall, the 30% reductions called in the 5th Environmental Action Programme for in both non-methane VOCs and nitrous oxides over the 1990s were not reached. The 2010 proposec in the National Emissions Ceilings Directive will not be met without substantial progress.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
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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