Air pollution (Albania)
The state and impacts
- Air pollution
All activities produce gases which are released to the atmosphere and affect the quality of the air we breathe (air environment) and, in the upper layer of the atmosphere, can influence the global climate, and can affect the ozone layer, which protects us from some of the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. Activities that cause the most pollution are transport, industry, the energy sector (production and processing of oil and gas and thermal energy production) and urban development. Releases to the atmosphere also arise from agricultural activities, dumping of waste and other human activities.
Currently, the main sources of air pollution are oil extraction, mobile sources, heating of homes, and the production of cement. The main source of urban air pollution is transport. The number of vehicles continues to grow from year to year and emissions of gases from vehicles (including PM10) contributes to a large extent to air pollution causing respiratory problems, especially in the young and the elderly.
In Albania, the systematic measurement of emissions of the basic polluting substances includes continuous 24-hour measuring of sulphur dioxide (SO2), total nitrogen oxides (NOx), tropospheric ozone (O3), the overall content of suspended particles (PM10), and lead (Pb) is monitored in eight stations in five cities.
Particulate Matter (PM10)
Measured concentrations of PM10 were above the limit values at all measuring points, except Tirana 2, during 2008–09.
Nitrogen dioxide — NO2
Exceedances in the mean annual concentration of NO2 above the limit values were observed in one station in Tirana City, but not in the other cities of Albania.
Sulphur dioxide — SO2
Measured concentrations of sulphur dioxide were below the limit values at all measuring points in the years 2006–09.
The annual concentrations of carbon monoxide and benzene were below the limit values at all measuring points during 2008–09.
Sulphur dioxide — SO2
Figure 1: Mean annual concentration of SO2
Nitrogen dioxide – NO2
Figure 2: Mean annual concentration of NO2
Ozone — O3
Figure 3: Mean annual concentration of O3
Particulate Matter (PM10)
Figure 4: Mean annual concentration PM10
Carbon Monoxide — CO
Figure 5: Mean annual concentration of CO
Figure 6: Mean annual concentration of Benzene
Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in Albania
The main sector that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions is the energy sector at 44 % followed by agriculture at 27.12 %. By subsectors of energy, transport shows the faster growth in emissions.
Figure 7: CO2 emission by sectors
Figure 8: CH4 emission by sectors
Figure 9: CO2 emission from the industry sector
GHG emissions from the industrial sector in Albania are small compared to other sectors. Therefore, no explicit measures are anticipated for their reduction. The GHG emissions baseline scenario without mitigation measures anticipates growth in the industrial sector. Emissions of CO2 are expected to grow as shown in Figure 9.
In the face of formidable social and economic challenges, Albania has begun to develop a framework to address the environmental problems that have arisen during the last decade. One of the priorities of the Environmental strategy and National environmental action plan has been to establish the respective legal framework as an instrument for the application of the environmental policies in the country.
In recent years, Albania has adopted laws for environmental and air protection.
Steps have been taken to improve the implementation of the legal framework and to increase the frequency of air quality monitoring. This will help to determine in more detail the situation regarding meeting the emission targets and environmental quality standards and also in identifying investment needed to overcome the problems.
The overall objective is to improve the air quality, especially in urban areas and around industrial plants, with the aim of protecting human health and fulfilling the EU Directives and international agreements on environmental quality of air and limiting the amount of gases released to the atmosphere.
The Intersectoral Environment Strategy presents a strategy for reducing the emission of atmospheric pollutants. This strategy includes the following measures:
— monitoring of air quality in line with EU requirements,
— control and reduction of discharges of gases to the atmosphere by motorised vehicles,
— control and reduction of discharges of polluting substances from industrial plants,
— control and reduction of dust caused by construction,
— planning for air quality management.
This strategy provides steps for the alignment of the legal framework with European regulators and its implementation. In the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, Albania is also in the process of aligning legislation on air with EU legislation.
Albania ratified the Protocol for Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTR), Aarhus Convention, in June 2006. In October 2005, Albania joined the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, () United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
Albania is in the process of preparing an Integrated system registry of pollutant release and transfer under the PRTR Protocol and is in the process of preparing for assessment of atmospheric emissions of major pollutants, based on Law No 8897 of 16 May 2002 on air protection.
In the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, Albania is in the process of aligning legislation on air with EU legislation. The Intersectoral Environment Strategy contains steps that should provide for the approximation of the legal framework with European legislation and its implementation.
In the period 2002–08, in field of air quality, Albania has produced a number of legal and sub-legal Acts supported in the respective directives of the EU and various international conventions.
The existing legal framework in air pollution field in our country includes:
— Law No 8934 of 5 September 2002 on environmental protection (amended by Law No 9890 of 20 March 2008) determines the main indicators of the state, influences and pressures on air
— Law No 8897 of 16 May 2002 on protection of air pollution, determination of pollution sources and their classification, major indicators of air quality restrictions on air emissions and air protection obligations
— Decision No 435 of 12 September 2002 on approval of emissions norms in air
— Decision No 803 of 4 December 2003 on air quality norms
— Decision No 248 of 24 April 2003 on approval of temporal norms of air emissions
— Decision No 147 of 21 March 2007 on fuels, petrol and diesel quality
In the future, Albania will continue with the preparation of several other Acts aiming to progress the transposition of the Air Framework Directive, and associated Directives, and Acts relating to various conventions and protocols on air. Also, Albania will continue work on improving air quality monitoring, approximating methodologies, equipment monitoring and reporting to the European Environment Agency.
- State of Environment Report, 2008, Agency of Environment and Forestry.
- National Environment Strategy, 2006, Ministry of the Environment, Forests and Water Administration.
- Intersectoral Environment Strategy, 2007, Ministry of the Environment, Forests and Water Administration.
- Second National Communication of the Republic of Albania addressing the framework Convention of the United Nations on Climate Change, 2009, Ministry of the Environment, Forests and Water Administration, UNDP.
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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