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Air pollution - Drivers and pressures (Greece)

Common environmental themeexpired
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This content has been archived on 21 Mar 2015, reason: A new version has been published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 Greece
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 21 Mar 2015


The main driving forces of environmental pressures on air quality are related to population and economic trends, transport, energy and agricultural demand and household consumption.

From 1991 to 2001, the Greek population increased with an average annual population growth rate of 0.66 % and is estimated to decrease from 0.326 % in 2005 to 0.065 % in 2020 (NSSG, 2009). The number of individuals per household is estimated to decrease annually from 0.43 % in 2000-2005 to 0.37 % in 2010-2015, reflecting ageing of population and new living arrangements (MINENV, 2009).

Between 2000 and 2007, there is a relative decoupling of economic growth from energy use, with total primary energy consumption growing by 13.4 % (Figure 2; GR - EEA CSI 028). Fossil fuels continue to dominate total primary energy consumption and the share of renewables remains small (5.2 % in 2007) (GR - EEA CSI 029).

Transport represents the highest share of the final energy consumption in Greece (38.7 % in 2007, increased by 48 % since 1990). The fastest-growing sector, but with low share, is services (Figure 3; GR – EEA CSI 027).

In 2007, the share of transport towards emissions of ozone precursors was the highest (39.4 %), followed by energy supply (30.8 %; Figure 4; GR - EEA EN05). Energy supply had the highest share in the emissions of acidifying substances (46.8 %; Figure 5; GR - EEA EN06) and secondary particulate matter (52.8 %; Figure 6; GR - EEA EN07).

Emissions of particulate matter and acidifying substances from the transport sector were almost stable between 1990 and 2007, whereas the transport emissions of ozone precursors decreased by 33.5 %. Although the NOx emissions remained the same, there is a great decrease in CO and NMVOC emissions due to the continuing increase of passenger cars with catalytic converters (Figure 7; GR – EEA TERM 03).


Table 1 presents the changes in aggregated emissions of acidifying pollutants, ground-level ozone precursors, and primary and secondary particulate matter.


Table 1.            Changes in emissions of air pollutants, 1990-2007

1. Changes in emissions of acidifying substances

between 1990-2007



Nitrogen oxides (NOx)


Increase mainly due to

NOx and SO2 emission

(Figure 8; GR – EEA CSI 001)

Sulphur dioxide (SO2)


Ammonia (NH3)


Acidification equivalents (kt)



2. Changes in ozone precursor emissions

between 1990 and 2007



CH4 (with LULUCF)


Reduction mainly due to

NMVOC emissions

(Figure 9; GR – EEA CSI 002)

NOx (with LULUCF)






Ozone precursors (NMVOC equiv)



3. Changes in emissions of particulate matter processors

between 1990 and 2007





Primary PM10 emissions make only a small contribution;

secondary PM are the most important

(Figure 10; GR – EEA CSI 003)







Total PM10 equivalents




Figure 1.

Figure 1.          Percentage of population resident in Metropolitan Area of Athens, potentially exposed to PM10 concentration levels exceeding the daily indicative limit value


Figure 2


Figure 2.          Total energy intensity

Figure 3

Figure 3.          Final energy consumption by sector (shares)



Figure 4

Figure 4.          Sectoral non-energy and energy-related emissions of ozone precursors, 1990-2007


Figure 5

Figure 5.          Sectoral non-energy and energy-related emissions of acidifying pollutants, 1990-2007


Figure 6


Figure 6.          Sectoral shares of secondary particulate matter, 2007

Figure 7

Figure 7.          Transport emissions of air pollutants, 1990-2007


Figure 8

Figure 8.          Emissions of acidifying substances


Figure 9

Figure 9.          Emissions of ozone precursors


Figure 10

Figure 10.         Emissions of primary particulate matter and secondary particulate matter precursors


Geographic coverage


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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