CHAPTER 14: EMISSIONS - INTRODUCTION
Many of the environmental problems currently facing Europe result from the discharge of pollutants into the environment. Information on the characteristics, quantities and locations of such emissions are therefore essential to the assessment, prediction and understanding of their fate and potential environmental impact. A systematic analysis of emissions into the various environmental media is also crucial for establishing quantitative and qualitative relationships between these problems and the pressures from specific sectors of activities, production processes and technologies. Strategies for controlling and reducing discharges will become more effective as the quality and quantity of information on these emissions develop.
The term 'emissions' can encompass a wide range of agents, from chemical susbstances to noise and radiation. In this report, 'emissions' refer specifically to substances which are of no further use for the purposes of production, transformation or consumption and which are released to the environment air, water or land rather than recycled or re-used. These are usually referred to as atmospheric emissions when directly released to air, as wastewater when discharged to waterbodies and as waste when dumped to land or handled further before final dumping. Wastes are a particular form of emissions; throughout their extended life, wastes may change nature and location as they are handled and processed before disposal to land, causing emissions to air, water and soil.
This chapter presents an overview of emissions to air and water in Europe their physico-chemical characteristics, magnitude, pathways and sinks in the different environmental media. Wastes are treated separately in Chapter 15. The impacts of emissions are examined in detail in Chapters 4 to 11 and further developed in Chapters 27 to 38 as part of the presentation of prominent European environmental problems. Emissions are treated by sources in Chapters 19 to 26. Radioactive emissions are addressed in Chapters 16 and 18.
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14.1 - Introduction
14.2 - Emission Inventories
14.3 - Atmospheric Emissions
14.3.1 - Sulphur dioxide
14.3.2 - Nitrogen oxides
14.3.3 - Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
14.3.4 - Ammonia
14.3.5 - Carbon monoxide
14.3.6 - Carbon dioxide
14.3.7 - Methane
14.3.8 - Heavy metals and metalloids
14.4 - Emissions to Water
14.4.1 - Sources of nutrient concentrations in rivers and lakes
220.127.116.11 - Phosphorus
18.104.22.168 - Nitrogen
14.4.2 - Nitrogen emissions from agriculture
22.214.171.124 - Nitrate leaching losses
126.96.36.199 - Nitrate losses to surface water
14.4.3 - Phosphorus emissions from agriculture
188.8.131.52 - Phosphorus loss from point sources
184.108.40.206 - Loss of phosphorus to surface
220.127.116.11 - Wind erosion
14.4.4 - Emissions of pesticides and their residues
18.104.22.168 - Treatment and emissions of wastewater
22.214.171.124 - Wastewater treatment technologies
126.96.36.199 - Distribution of sewage treatment technologies across Europe
14.4.5 - Industrial emissions
14.5 - Towards Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control
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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