EEA-32 emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) have decreased by 51% since 1990. In 2009, the most significant sources of NMVOC emissions were ‘Solvent and product use’ (36%) (comprising activities such as paint application, dry-cleaning and other use of solvents), followed by ‘Commercial, institutional and households’ (15%).
The decline in emissions since 1990 has primarily been due to reductions achieved in the road transport sector due to the introduction of vehicle catalytic converters and carbon canisters on petrol cars, for evaporative emission control driven by tighter vehicle emission standards, combined with limits on the maximum volatility of petrol that can be sold in EU Member States, as specified in fuel quality directives. The reductions in NMVOC emissions have been enhanced by the switching from petrol to diesel cars in some EU countries, and changes in the ‘Solvents and product use' sector (a result of the introduction of legislative measures limiting for example the use and emissions of solvents).
The EU-27 Member States have, in general, made good progress towards reducing emissions in line with their obligations under the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD). Twenty four Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom) have already reduced their national NMVOC emissions below the level of the emission ceilings set in the NECD. However, two Member States (Denmark and Germany) reported 2009 emissions significantly above their respective emission ceilings and therefore require significant reductions to have been made in 2010 in order to comply with the NECD. Emissions in 2009 for the three non-EU countries having emission ceilings set under the UNECE/CLRTAP Gothenburg protocol (Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) were all well below their respective ceilings.
Environmental context: Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) are a collection of organic compounds that differ widely in their chemical composition but display similar behaviour in the atmosphere. NMVOCs are emitted into the atmosphere from a large number of sources including combustion activities, solvent use and production processes. NMVOCs contribute to the formation of ground level (tropospheric) ozone, and certain NMVOC species such as benzene and 1,3 butadiene are hazardous to human health. Quantifying the emissions of total NMVOCs provides an indicator of the emissions of the most hazardous NMVOCs.
Data and maps
Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) emissions