Air pollution - Drivers and pressures (Estonia)
- Air pollution
Link to Environmental Indicators: http://www.keskkonnainfo.ee/index.php?lan=EN&sid=24&tid=23&l2=22&l1=2#vaav
· Acidifying and eutrophying substances
The main sources of emissions of acidifying pollutants are stationary combustion plants, 71 %; mobile sources, 12 %; and agriculture, 16 %. During the period 1990-2008 emissions of acidifying pollutants decreased by 69.4 % – sulphur dioxide (SO2) by 74.1 %, nitrogen oxide (NOx) by 53.4 % and ammonia (NH3) by 60.8 % (Figure 8). The main reasons for the reductions were restructuring of the economy and a decline in energy production. Possibilities for exporting electricity also decreased significantly. While the use of local fuels – wood, wood-waste and oil shale – and natural gas has been increasing steadily since 1993, the share of heavy fuel oil in the energy balance has reduced significantly. Future decreases of emissions are directly dependent on the measures implemented in power plants operating on oil shale and in the transport sector.
Figure 9. Emission of acidifying substances in 1990-2008 and projection
· Tropospheric ozone precursors
The main sources of tropospheric ozone precursor emissions in 2008 were non-industrial combustion – about 30 % due to wood and wood-waste combustion in households, 31 % from mobile sources and 20 % from the energy industry
In the period 1990-2008 emissions of these substances decreased by about 50 % (Figure 9) due to reductions in NOx and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) emissions from mobile sources. The consumption of gasoline fell by 34 % during this period, partly because the share of old cars was reduced considerably. The increasing number of cars with catalysers also played a role. The manufacture of chemical products fell between 1990 and 2005, which reduced emissions of volatile compounds.
Figure 10. Emissions of tropospheric ozone precursors in 1990-2007 and emission projection
· Particulate matter
The main sources of primary PM10 emissions in Estonia are non-industrial combustion: 50% from wood and wood-waste combustion in households, 26% from combustion for energy production (mainly oil shale power plants) and 15% from manufacturing industries.
The emissions of particulates fell by 32.3 % between 2000 and 2008 mainly as a result of measures on power plants and decreasing energy production. The increase in particulate emissions in 2007 was due to growth of energy production in oil shale power stations (Figure 10).
Figure 11. Emissions of primary PM10 and PM2.5 in 2000-2008 and projections
· Heavy metal emissions
Since 2000 the main source of lead emissions in Estonia – 91 % – has been power stations burning oil shale with road transport contributing only 4 % and non-industrial combustion 2 %. Emissions of lead fell by 74 % during the period 1990-2008 as a result of the introduction of new technologies in power stations and cement factories, decreasing energy production, and ending the use of leaded petrol since 2000.
The energy sector contributes about 94 % of total mercury emissions and 90 % of cadmium emissions. Decreases in emissions of these metals are resulting from changes in power stations.
· Persistent organic pollutants
The main polluters of ambient air with dioxins in 2008 were the energy industry – 45 %; non-industrial combustion, mainly wood and wood-waste combustion in households, 33%; combustion in manufacturing industry, 12%; and waste incineration, 9 %. Emissions of dioxins fell by 11 % between 2000 and 2008.
The total PAH emissions include four substances: benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, benzo(b)fluoranthene and indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene. The main source of PAH emissions, contributing 85 %, is non-industrial combustion. Emissions increased by 13 % between 1990 and 2008 mainly because of the amount of wood and wood-waste burned in households (Figure 11).
Figure 12. PAH emissions in 1990-2008 and projections
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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