Emissions of primary PM2.5 and PM10 particulate matter (CSI 003/APE 009) - Assessment published Jun 2014
Air pollution (Primary topic)
Environment and health
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
- CSI 003
- APE 009
Key policy question: What progress is being made in reducing emissions of primary PM2.5 and PM10 particulate matter ?
- Total emissions of primary sub-10µm particulate matter (PM10) have reduced by 24% across the EEA-33 region between 1990 and 2011, driven by a 35% reduction in emissions of the fine particulate matter (PM2.5) fraction. Emissions of particulates between 2.5 and 10 µm have reduced by 12% over the same period; the difference of this trend to that of PM2.5 is due to significantly increased emissions in the 2.5 to 10 µm fraction from 'Road transport' and 'Agriculture' (of 20% and 6% respectively) since 1990.
- Of this reduction in PM10 emissions, % has taken place in the 'Energy Production and Distribution' sector due to factors including the fuel-switching from coal to natural gas for electricity generation and improvements in the performance of pollution abatement equipment installed at industrial facilities.
Annual emissions of primary PM10 have reduced by 24% across the EEA-33 region between 1990 and 2011 (Figure 1), with significant reductions having occurred within most individual countries. The largest reductions have been reported by Cyprus (61%), Slovakia (59%) and the United Kingdom (59%). In contrast emissions have increased in eight countries since 1990; the greatest increases have been reported in Finland (154%), Iceland (107%) and Latvia (63%).
Data reported by Finland for years prior to 2000 does not include a number of sectors included in post-2000 data, and there is therefore a sharp rise in reported emissions between 1999 and 2000, after which emissions have remained approximately constant. In Latvia emissions reported from residential combustion have increased by 41% since 1990, mostly in the PM2.5 fraction, contributing 45% of the increase in the reported national total over the same period. Similarly the rise in emissions in Romania is due chiefly to reported emissions from residential combustion sources, which have increased by 15% per year on average since 1990 such that emissions reported for 2011 were 18 times higher than for 1990.
The reductions in total emissions of primary PM10 between 1990 and 2011 have been mainly due to the introduction or improvement of abatement measures across the energy, road transport, and industrial sectors coupled with other developments in industrial sectors such as fuel switching from high-sulphur fuels to low-sulphur fuels, which has also contributed to decreased formation of secondary particulate matter from SO2 in the atmosphere. Emissions of primary PM10 are expected to decrease in the future as vehicle technologies are further improved 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 within many of the urban areas across the EU, PM10 concentrations will still be well above the EU air quality limit value. Substantial further reductions in emissions will therefore be needed if the limit value set in the EU's Air Quality Directive is to be reached.
The 2012 revision of the Gothenburg Protocol to the UNECE LRTAP Convention set emission reduction targets for PM2.5 based on 2005 emission totals, to be met by countries in or before 2020. The EEA group of countries as a whole is on track towards achieving the total reduction target implied by the protocol. By 2011, average annual reductions of PM2.5 emissions since 2005 in 17 EEA-33 countries were greater than that required to achieve their targets by 2020, and eight countries had already achieved the reductions specified in the protocol. Of the remaining eleven EEA-33 countries with targets under the protocol, two reported 2011 emissions which were above a linear target path to their 2020 targets by more than 20% of their 2005 emission totals. Additional measures may therefore need to be undertaken in future years in these countries (Estonia and Lithuania) if 2020 emission reduction targets are to be achieved.
Within the EU, there are presently no national emission limits for PM2.5 or PM10. However the EU National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD) and the Gothenburg Protocol to the UNECE LRTAP Convention both set ceilings (i.e. limits) for the secondary particulate matter precursors NH3, NOX and SO2 that countries must have met by 2010. and by 2020 for the Gothenburg Protocol. Further details concerning emissions of the particulate matter precursor pollutants may be found in the indicator fact sheet CSI001 (Emissions of acidifying substances) with additional details concerning the individual secondary particulate matter precursor pollutants available in the following indicator fact sheets:
- Emission trends of ammonia (NH3)
- Emission trends of nitrogen oxides (NOX)
- Emission trends of sulphur oxides (SOX)
 The NECD and Gothenburg protocol also set an emission ceiling for total emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) which contribute to ground-level ozone formation.
Specific policy question: How do different sectors and processes contribute to emissions of PM2.5 and PM10?
The most important sources of primary PM10 emissions in 2011, across the EEA-33 region, were the sectors 'Commercial, institutional and households' (35% of total emissions), 'Industrial processes' (29%), 'Road transport' (11%) and 'Agriculture' (8%). The 'Commercial, institutional and households' sector includes combustion-related emissions from sources such as heating of residential and commercial properties.
Emissions of primary PM10 from most sectors have decreased between 1990 and 2011 (Figure 5), with the exception of the 'Non-road transport' and 'Agriculture' sectors, in which emissions have risen by 6.0% and 1.9% respectively.
Since 1990, emissions from the combustion-related sectors 'Energy production and distribution', 'Energy use in industry' and 'Road Transport' have reduced particularly significantly, contributing 34%, 20% and 18% respectively of the total reduction in sub-10μm particulate matter emissions (Figure 7). As described in the main assessment, a combination of factors has contributed to the reduction of both primary PM10 and secondary particulate matter emissions in these sectors between 1990 and 2011. These include for primary PM10;
- improvements in the performance of particulate abatement equipment at industrial combustion facilities, e.g. coal-fired power stations;
- since the early 1990s, a fuel shift from the use of coal in the energy industries, industrial and domestic sectors to cleaner burning fuels such as gas;
- cleaner stoves for domestic heating;
- introduction of particle filters on new vehicles (driven by the legislative Euro standards);
and for the secondary particulate matter precursors;
- fuel switching from high-sulphur solid (e.g. coal) and liquid (e.g. heavy fuel oil) fuels to low sulphur fuels (such as natural gas) for power and heat production purposes within the energy industries, industry and domestic sectors;
- the impact of European Union directives relating to the sulphur content of certain liquid fuels;
- the introduction of flue-gas abatement techniques (e.g. flue gas desulphurisation, NOX scrubbers selective catalytic and non-catalytic reduction, i.e. SCR and SNCR) and introduction of combustion modification technologies (such as use of low NOX burners);
- the introduction of three way catalytic converters for petrol-fuelled cars (driven by the legislative Euro standards);
- the introduction of exhaust particle traps for diesel HGVs to meet emission standards EURO V.
National emissions reported to the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP Convention)
provided by United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (Environment and Human Settlements Division, UNECE)
More information about this indicator
See this indicator specification for more details.
Contacts and ownership
EEA Contact InfoMartin Adams
EEA Management Plan2013 1.1.2 (note: EEA internal system)
Frequency of updates
- 21 Dec 2012 - Emissions of primary PM2.5 and PM10 particulate matter (CSI 003/APE 009) - Assessment published Dec 2012
- 21 Dec 2011 - Emissions of primary PM2.5 and PM10 particulate matter (CSI 003/APE 009) - Assessment published Dec 2011
- 25 Oct 2010 - Emissions of primary PM2.5 and PM10 particulate matter (CSI 003/APE 009) - Assessment published Oct 2010
- 26 Jan 2010 - Emissions of primary particles and secondary particulate matter precursors (CSI 003) - Assessment published Jan 2010
- 19 Dec 2008 - Emissions of primary particles and secondary particulate matter precursors (CSI 003) - Assessment published Dec 2008
- 07 Mar 2008 - Emissions of primary particles and secondary particulate matter precursors (CSI 003) - Assessment published Mar 2008
- 22 Dec 2006 - Emissions of primary particles and secondary particulate matter precursors (CSI 003) - Assessment published Dec 2006
- 21 Oct 2005 - Emissions of primary particles and secondary particulate matter precursors (CSI 003) - Assessment published Oct 2005
- 06 Oct 2004 - EEA18 Emissions of primary particulates (PM10) and secondary particulate precursors
- 01 Jun 2001 - Emission of particulates, EU 15
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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