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Air pollution - Drivers and pressures (Denmark)

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This content has been archived on 21 Mar 2015, reason: A new version has been published
SOER Common environmental theme from Denmark
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 21 Mar 2015

The National Danish emission inventory data of time series of air pollutants are publicly available at NERI’s website :

The main sources of emissions of the acidifying gases sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) are the industrial, energy, and transport sectors, while emissions of ammonia (NH3) are almost entirely from the agricultural sector. In 2008, emissions of SO2 from the industry and energy sectors were 28 % and 34 % respectively. The transport sector accounts for 47 % of the total emissions of NOx and the agricultural sector for almost 98 % of emission of NH3. The reduction in emissions of acidifying gases, measured as acidifying potential, was 29 % from 2000 to 2008.

Figure 7 (2.1.2)

Figure 7 (2.1.2). Emission of acidifying gases expressed as acidifying equivalence for sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and ammonia (NH3). Reference: National Environment Research Institute


The most important ozone-forming air pollutants include non-methane volatile organic compound (NMVOC), carbon monoxide (CO), methane (CH4) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). The main sources of NMVOC are incomplete combustion in the transport sector and evaporation from the use of solvents in production. The reduction in emissions of ozone forming air pollutants, measured as ozone forming potential, was 23% from 2000 to 2008.

Figure 8 (2.2.1)

Figure 8 (2.2.1). Ozone-forming potential (NMVOC-equivalence) from emission of the most important ozone-forming air pollutants including non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon mono-oxide (CO) and methane (CH4).

In general, the most important sources of heavy metal emissions are from energy production, i.e. combustion of fossil fuel and waste. Heavy metal emissions have decreased substantially over the last decades. From 1990 to 2008, the reduction of Hg, Cd and Pb amounted to 75%, 63% and 93%. Since 2000, the decrease has been much less, amounting to 20-25% for the three compounds.

Increased combustion of wood in the residential sector has caused emissions of PAHs and dioxin to increase. PAHs increased by 156% and dioxin by 53% from 1990 to 2008.

Figure 9 (2.3.2)

Figure 9 (2.3.2). Emission of heavy metals (mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) distributed on economic sectors in 2008. The waste sector contributes with the highest levels of emissions of heavy metals.

Figure 10 (2.3.1)

Figure 10 (2.3.1). Emissions of heavy metals, PAHs and dioxins. Emissions have been decreasing except for PAHs.


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

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