Sources of air pollution in Europe
Topics: Air pollution ,
Based on indicator
Emissions of primary particulate matter and secondary particulate matter precursors (CSI 003/APE 009) - Assessment published Dec 2012 Total emissions of primary sub-10µm particulate matter (PM 10 ) have reduced by 26% across the EEA-32 region between 1990 and 2010, driven by a 28% reduction in emissions of the fine particulate matter (PM 2.5 ) fraction. Emissions of particulates between 2.5 and 10 µm have reduced by 21% over the same period; the difference of this trend to that of PM 2.5 is due to significantly increased emissions in the 2.5 to 10 µm fraction from 'Road transport' and 'Agriculture' (of 50% and 15% respectively) since 1990. Of this reduction in PM 10 emissions, 39% 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.
Ammonia (NH3) emissions (APE 003) - Assessment published Dec 2012 EEA-32 emissions of NH 3 have declined by 28% between the years 1990 and 2010. Agriculture was responsible for 94% of NH 3 emissions in 2010. The reduction in emissions within the agricultural sector is primarily due to a reduction in livestock numbers (especially cattle) since 1990, changes in the handling and management of organic manures and from the decreased use of nitrogenous fertilisers. The reductions achieved in the agricultural sector have been marginally offset by the increase in annual emissions over this period in the road-transport sector, and to a lesser extent the 'Solvent and product use' and 'Non-road transport' sectors. All but two of the EU-27 Member States reported 2010 national NH 3 emissions under NECD below the level of the 2010 emission ceilings set in the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD)  . Emissions in 2010 for two of the three non-EU countries having emission ceilings set under the UNECE/CLRTAP Gothenburg protocol (Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) were also below the level of the respective 2010 ceilings. Environmental context: NH 3 contributes to acid deposition and eutrophication. The subsequent impacts of acid deposition can be significant, including adverse effects on aquatic ecosystems in rivers and lakes and damage to forests, crops and other vegetation. Eutrophication can lead to severe reductions in water quality with subsequent impacts including decreased biodiversity, changes in species composition and dominance, and toxicity effects. NH 3 also contributes to the formation of secondary particulate aerosols, an important air pollutant due to its adverse impacts on human health.  Emissions data reported by EU member states under NECD is used for comparison with NECD ceilings, and data reported under CLRTAP is used for all other calculations unless otherwise stated. 2010 emissions reported under NECD in 2012 by 11 member states differed from that reported under CLRTAP.
Nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions (APE 002) - Assessment published Dec 2012 EEA-32 emissions of nitrogen oxides (NO X ) decreased by 42% between 1990 and 2010. In 2010, the most significant sources of NO X emissions were the 'Road transport' (41%), 'Energy production and distribution' (22%) and the 'Commercial, institutional and households' and 'Energy use in industry' (both 13%) sectors. The largest reduction of emissions in absolute terms since 1990 has occurred in the road transport sector. These reductions have been achieved despite the general increase in activity within this sector since the early 1990s and have primarily been achieved as a result of fitting three-way catalysts to petrol fuelled vehicles. However, ambient urban concentrations of NO2 in EU-27 countries in recent years have not fallen by as much as reported emissions. From 2001 to 2010, NO2 annual mean concentrations at urban background sites fell by just 10.6% on average (CSI004 - Fig 5) during which time the reported NO X emissions for the EU-27 decreased by 24.9%. The disparity between trends in NO X emissions and ambient NO2 concentration is due in part to increased penetration of diesel vehicles, and the ‘real-world’ emission performance of modern diesel vehicles not showing the improvements that were indicated by the test cycle emission factors used for emission inventories. It is also due to the increased proportion of NO X emitted directly as NO2 from the exhaust of more modern diesel vehicles which use catalyst systems for controlling emissions of other pollutants. As a result of this difference, a number of member states' NO X emissions could be significantly higher than currently calculated. In the electricity/energy production sector reductions have also occurred as a result of measures such as the introduction of combustion modification technologies (such as use of low NO X burners), implementation of flue-gas abatement techniques (e.g. NO X scrubbers and selective catalytic and non-catalytic reduction techniques, i.e. SCR and SNCR) and fuel-switching from coal to gas. The National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD) specifies NO X emission ceilings for Member States that must have been met by 2010. In general, the newer EU Member States have made substantially better progress towards meeting their respective NO X ceilings than the older Member States of the EU-15. Eleven of the twelve post-2004 Member States had reduced their 2010 emissions beyond what is required under the NECD  , with the remaining one reporting NO X emissions just 2% above the NECD target. In contrast, only four of the EU-15 Member States reported emissions for 2010 within their respective national ceilings. Of the three non-EU countries having emission ceilings set under the UNECE/CLRTAP Gothenburg protocol (Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), only Switzerland reported 2010 emissions below the level of their 2010 ceiling. Environmental context: NO X contributes to acid deposition and eutrophication of soil and water. The subsequent impacts of acid deposition can be significant, including adverse effects on aquatic ecosystems in rivers and lakes and damage to forests, crops and other vegetation. Eutrophication can lead to severe reductions in water quality with subsequent impacts including decreased biodiversity, changes in species composition and dominance, and toxicity effects. NO2 is associated with adverse effects on human health, as at high concentrations it can cause inflammation of the airways and reduced lung function, increasing susceptibility to respiratory infection. It also contributes to the formation of secondary particulate aerosols and tropospheric ozone in the atmosphere, both of which are important air pollutants due to their adverse impacts on human health and other climate effects.  Emissions data reported by EU member states under NECD is used for comparison with NECD ceilings, and data reported under CLRTAP is used for all other calculations unless otherwise stated.
Air quality in Europe — 2012 report This report presents an overview and analysis of the status and trends of air quality in Europe based on concentration measurements in ambient air and data on anthropogenic emissions and trends from 2001 — when mandatory monitoring of ambient air concentrations of selected pollutants first produced reliable air quality information — to 2010.
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