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Czech Republic

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Air pollution (Czech Republic)

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Air pollution Air pollution
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Czech Republic
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Last updated
26 Nov 2010
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Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 26 Nov 2010 original
Key message

Air quality is one of the most important environmental issues. Air pollution could cause both health impacts and damage to vegetation and ecosystems.

In the past, especially in the 1970s and 1980s, air pollution with sulphur dioxide and particulate matter in the Czech Republic (CZ) belonged to the highest in Europe. Immense funds were invested in emission reductions during the 1990s, resulting in a marked improvement in air quality. Nevertheless, the growing industry and increased traffic, as well as the use of low-quality fuels in household heating have caused the air quality to deteriorate again. Pollution with particulate matter, surface ozone and PAH are among the main problems (see Fig. A / B / C / D). Additional information: Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic.

The state and impacts

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 26 Nov 2010 original
Key message

Currently, the main problems of air pollution include pollution from suspended particulate matter, surface ozone and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).

As in the previous years, the most affected areas in 2008 are the Ostrava-Karviná area and the several cities and towns (see Fig.). The safe threshold concentration of PM10 has not been found yet (see Fig. for PM10 concentration trends). SZÚ (2008) used conclusions of a US study (Pope et al., 2002), modified by WHO (2006), of health risk assessment (see Fig.). Consequently, it was estimated that the total mortality in CZ increased from 0.8 % in urban areas without traffic to 8.6 % in 2008 in heavy industrial and traffic areas (with the average of 2 % for the whole CZ), as a result of long-term exposure to PM10. Additional information concerning PM available on CHMI web page.

Surface ozone
In 2008, ozone was measured at 70 localities out of which 38 (54.3%) exceeded the target value for the period 2006–2008 (the Government Order No. 597/2006 Coll. requires the assessment of ozone concentrations in relation to human health protection as an average for the latest three years). The relative number of stations with exceedances slightly decreased in comparison to the previous period (see Fig.). As in the previous years, the target value was exceeded in most of CZ (see Fig.). The AOT40, the target value for the protection of vegetation, was exceeded in most localities in 2008 similarly to previous years (see Fig.). Additional information concerning ozone available on CHMI web pages: here and here.

As in the previous years the highest annual average concentration was measured, in Ostrava (industrial region). High concentrations were also measured in cities where the traffic is the main source of PAH (see Fig.).

However, it is necessary to assume that high concentrations occur also in small towns and villages where the local heating is the main source of PAH. Unfortunately, monitoring in these areas is inadequate but case studies (Kotlík et al., 2005 and 2006) show that larger territories and more inhabitants are exposed to concentrations exceeding the target value (see Fig.). Additional information concerning benzo(a)pyrene available on CHMI web page.

Additional information concerning air quality: (CZ version).

The key drivers and pressures

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 26 Nov 2010 original
Key message

Energy demand for industry, transport and households are the key drivers. Increasing energy prices lead to the use of cheaper fuels in transport and households.


Energy demand is one of the main drivers. The industrial and transport sectors are the highest consumers of final energy (see Fig.). Nearly two-thirds of the electricity and heat produced come from fossil fuel power plants. Nuclear power stations are the second highest source of the electric energy. The opening up of the electricity market after 2000 and possible export, increased consumption due to the growth of economy and higher household demand are reasons why there has been no reduction in energy production from coal power plants. The energy sector still remains one of the main air pollutant sources (see Fig.).

Industrial sector
Between 2000 and 2008, structural changes shifted the industry towards fields with lower energy and emission intensity (see Fig.). Technology innovations were implemented in all sectors. Nevertheless, high energy and material intensity still decelerates environmental impacts of industry reduction.

The energy consumption in the transport sector increased by 86 % between 2000 and 2007, especially due to the growth in road transport (see Fig.). Consequently, the negative environmental effects of transportation increased, in contrast to most other economic sectors, even though the specific energy and emission intensity of transportation decreased as a result of technological advances and application of environmental measures.

Increasing gas and electricity prices force households to save on heating and lead to the use of cheaper fuels, e.g. coal, wood, pellets etc. This has reduced costs of heating by about 50 % in comparison to heating with gas. The use of cheaper fuels in household combustion equipment for heating purposes is the main source of primary PM and remains a pressing problem. Additional information concerning key drivers: here and (CZ version).


Despite the ongoing decrease in emissions and meeting of national emission ceilings set for SO2, NOx, NH3 and NMVOC, the air quality situation is not sufficient. Occasional fluctuations are the result of meteorological and dispersion conditions. The reasons why the decrease in concentrations and the increase in the improvement of air quality do not continue are not clear. The EEA stated that increased temperatures due to climate change, long-range transport of pollution, and natural emissions of ozone precursors are possible causes (EEA, 2009).

Emissions of primary particle matter and secondary particle matter precursors
In CZ, emissions of secondary PM10 precursors contribute to total PM10 formation by 92 % (see Fig.). In the meantime, NOx has the dominant role (see Fig.). The public electricity and heat production and transport are the main sources of total particulate matter emissions (see Fig.).

Emissions of surface ozone precursors
Emissions of NOx (59 % of the total aggregated emissions) and NMVOC (31 %) are the most important pollutants that contributed to the formation of ozone in 2007 (see Fig.). Transport and public electricity and heat production are the main sources of ozone precursors (see Fig.). Additional information and data concerning emissions in the Czech Republic available on CHMI web pages: here and here. Indicators concerning emissions in the Czech Republic according to the EEA Core Set of Indicators available on CENIA web pages (in the mean time not available in English):, and

The 2020 outlook

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 26 Nov 2010 original
Key message

Levels of emissions for which national emission ceilings for 2010 have been set are below their level and therefore, it may be presumed that their ceilings have been met.

Emission projections of basic air pollutants for which NEC have been set for 2010 are presented (see Fig.). The values were generated by the GAINS model with the modification of activity data for CZ. It is possible that emissions in 2010 will be under the NEC values. The influence of the economic crisis has not been taken into account; which is why even lower emission values in 2010 are probable.

Existing and planned responses

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 26 Nov 2010 original
Key message

The Czech legislation reflects the requirements of the EU. The environmental objectivities are defined in the framework of the sectoral strategies.

The National Emission Reduction Programme of the CZ is the the basic strategy within the framework of air pollution. In the period between 2002 and 2006, a few measures (energy saving, renewable sources, emission ceilings for extra large sources) were partly or fully implemented. The legislative measures set by IPPC have also had a positive impact.

Energy and industry
The aim of the State Energy Concept ( is to achieve the following primary energy consumption structure by 2030:

Solid fuels:

30-32 %

(49.7 % in 2007)

Gaseous fuels:

20-22 %

(15.9 % in 2007)

Liquid fuels:

11-22 %

(22.2 % in 2007)

Nuclear fuels:

20-22 %

(9 % in 2007)

Renewable fuels:

15-16 %

(3.2 % in 2007)

Public and household sectors can gain financial support for air quality improving measures in the frame of programmes operating under the State Environmental Fund ( Indicators concerning energy consumption in the Czech Republic can be found on CENIA’s website (however not available in English):

A set of measures for transport is part of the Transportation Policy for 2005–2013. A brief summary of the environmental measures follows:
> Strengthen the role of state supervision in the area of state technical inspection of vehicles.
> Change the routing of heavy truck transport through local modifications of road traffic; create a system protecting city centres against non-essential automobile transport by establishing zones and streets with limited access; develop bicycle routes and pedestrian zones in cities etc.
> Reduce non-essential transport in case of adverse dispersion conditions of pollutants and in emergency situations.
> Apply suitable economic tools to reduce environmental and public health impacts of air transport. Continue with the solution for reducing aircraft generated noise.
Indicators concerning the transport sector in the Czech Republic can be found on CENIA’s website (however not available in English):


The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100