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on the environment

Hungary

Air pollution (Hungary)

Why should we care about this issue

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

Air pollution, mainly by fine particles and ground-level ozone, may cause health problems, lead to premature death (several studies have demonstrated a strong correlation between air pollution and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases), reduced agricultural crop yields, changes in ecosystem function and species composition, and damage to buildings and materials.

The state and impacts

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

The air quality in Hungary generally corresponds to the EU average, though there are Hungarian settlements where air quality is still not on the 'good' level, with significant differences between rural parts and larger cities.

Concentrations of SO2, CO, benzene and lead are below set limits throughout the country. Decreased emissions of sulphur dioxide over the past one to two decades resulted in a lower ambient air concentration of that pollutant (Figure).

Levels of nitrogen oxides and ground-level ozone are (relatively) high, with the latter showing an increasing trend similar to other parts of Europe. Nitrous oxides play a significant role in acidification and eutrophication of ecosystems, while ground-level ozone poses a serious threat to agricultural production. Levels of particulate matter and NOx in ambient air occasionally exceed the health limit values near main traffic routes in larger cities.

As a result of better understanding its health effects and of the availability of advanced measurement technology, fine particle pollution represents the highest risk to public health (in terms of air quality). An assessment of the health effects of PM10 in Budapest and other cities, based on data from 2004, suggests that 170 premature deaths per 100 000 inhabitants per year can be attributed to long-term exposure to high PM concentrations.

According to data from the National Children’s Respiratory Survey performed by the National Institute of Environmental Health in the autumn of 2005, the prevalence of chronic bronchitis symptoms among 9-10-year old Hungarian children was 17.3 % which showed statistically significant associations with the yearly mean levels of PM10 in the towns of the Central Transdanubian and the Central Hungarian Regions. At national level, the yearly mean PM10 levels were significantly associated with the prevalence of clinically diagnosed asthma (7.3 %) and allergy cases (20.6 %), the latter showing significant correlation with high levels of different pollen concentrations.

The improvement in ambient air quality has resulted in a decreasing trend in morbidity and mortality associated with respiratory diseases, which is especially evident since 2000. However, further investigation is needed to identify the most recent trends and to isolate the health effects of outdoor air quality from the effects of cigarette smoke.

Air quality is measured by a sophisticated national air quality monitoring network which has been extended through the contribution of EU funds, doubling the number of on-line sampling points, and upgrading the vast majority of measuring stations. The National Institute of Environmental Health provides daily health-related information on the ambient air pollution level in Budapest and five other towns in order to protect the health of the potentially affected population and operates the Aerobiological Network.

The national air quality monitoring system consists of 59 automatic stations (11 in Budapest), 200 manual sampling points and six mobile measuring devices (buses). Nearly all automatic stations collect data on SO2, NOx, NO2, PM10, CO and ozone and almost half of them on some aromatic hydrocarbons (BTEX). Four stations (two in Budapest) collect data on PM2.5 and their number will be increased significantly in the near future. (http://www.kvvm.hu/olm/index.php?lang=en)

The National Institute of Environmental Health provides daily health-related information of the ambient air pollution level in Budapest and five other towns (Debrecen, Miskolc, Szeged, Győr and Pécs) in order to protect the health of the potentially affected population, e.g. people suffering from cardio-vascular or respiratory diseases, elderly people, children (http://oki.antsz.hu). The Institute operates the Aerobiological Network (18 monitoring stations) which monitors the concentration of pollen grains of 32 allergenic plant species and the spores of two fungus species, provides forecasts on expected short term concentrations during the nine-months long flowering season. Weekly pollen reports are issued for medical personnel, patients and the general population through the internet (www.oki.antsz.hu/pollen).

 

Other information pages (mainly in Hungarian):

The key drivers and pressures

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

In recent years, a significant reduction in industrial pollutant emissions has been achieved in Hungary. Emissions of SO2 have declined during the last decades as a result of implementing emission control legislation and of structural changes in the energy sector. However, the levels of some air pollutants still exceed short‑term limit values several times annually, mainly due to the increasing volume of road transport.

Emissions of NOx and VOCs have fluctuated slightly around the same level since 2001 and have just recently decreased, making it a challenge to meet the respective emission ceilings. Consequently the annual average limit NO2 value has been exceeded in some areas and in major cities of the country. Particulate matter and ground-level ozone are of particular concern. PM10 daily and annual average limit values have also been exceeded in several parts of the country.

As emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases from the household and transport sectors have become key issues, further efforts are needed to improve energy efficiency in these sectors. The growing motor vehicle fleet, as well as the boom in road freight transport which followed EU accession threatens to offset progress achieved through improvements in vehicle technology and fuel quality.

The 2020 outlook

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

Implementation of the measures included in recent air quality action plans will reduce national emissions and decrease the levels of air pollutants in ambient air, so air quality should improve significantly, resulting in the reduction of the impacts on human health and ecosystems. To reduce PM10 concentration in ambient air, regional inspectorates prepared updated air quality plans in 2008. Implementation of the measures prescribed within these should result in compliance with limit values by 2011.

Depending on how – both at national and European level – economic, energy and transport policies develop and to what extent they integrate environmental aspects, the outlook on the future of air quality can vary significantly. Progress in terms of sustainability and energy efficiency can improve it greatly, while the lack of considerable developments can lead to stagnation or can even cause deterioration (in terms of human health, ambient air quality, built environment etc.).

Due to the timescale involved and the pace of change in drivers, pressures and technology, it is difficult to estimate the changes that can be achieved in terms of air pollutant emissions and ambient air quality. Furthermore, not enough is known about synergies and trade-offs in terms of the measures foreseen, especially with regard to those aimed at tackling climate change. How the higher average temperatures foreseen for the future can modify the processes through which air pollutants affect ambient air quality is just one example for a single factor that can determine future effects on human health.

Existing and planned responses

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 08 Apr 2011

Air quality legislation has been revised extensively and is now consistent with international commitments and EU requirements. Environmental legislation prescribes strict limit values (air quality and emission) and other requirements - e.g. the use of Best Available Technologies for all sources of air pollution (not only for IPPC installations). Another step was the introduction of the 'environmental load charge' for emissions of the main air pollutants from stationary sources.

The current, Second National Development Plan (2007-13) includes an operational programme, the objective of which is to facilitate environmentally friendly energy management by increasing the use of renewable energy and improving energy efficiency. At the same time, the plan also supports the development of environmentally sound transport modalities.

Investment in end-of-pipe equipment and improvement in fuel quality have contributed to significant reductions in emissions from energy generation. The share of renewables within the total primary energy supply has increased markedly following the introduction of a feed-in tariff in 2001, and the target for electricity generation from renewables has been met well ahead of the 2010 deadline. Some large power plants shifted from coal to more environmentally friendly fuels, thus cutting SO2 and CO2 emissions. The new energy policy document envisages a significant change in the energy mix: the share of renewables in the total primary energy supply (TPES) is projected to be 7-7.2 % by 2013 and 14-16 % by 2020. A National Energy Efficiency Action Plan was recently approved.

Concerning transport, increases in fuel prices, vehicle taxes and road tolls have helped in moderating the increase in volume caused by the growing demand for road transport. Public transport is well developed and still prevails in the modal split for urban travel. Improvements in fuel quality and vehicle performance have helped to increase the energy efficiency of transport and to reduce related (per unit, relative) air emissions.

One of the priorities of the National Environmental Programme is the improvement of environment quality and of the quality of life in settlements. The protection of air quality is a subset of the goals set out by the programme, which involve significant changes to the legal framework, especially economic legislation, as well as strengthening environmental awareness (the cleanest energy is unused energy (energy that can be saved), promoting the most efficient and environmentally sound forms of transport (walking, bicycle use), and the development of corresponding infrastructure.

 

 

Sulphur dioxide emission trend in Hungary [kt/year]

Sector

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Households

290.6

303.5

221.6

91.1

34.34

41.44

45.93

51.8

45.6

52.82

54.33

25 460

Services

44.9

36.7

29

15.4

8.73

7.8

6.08

6.42

5.91

0.96

0.86

0.700

Transportation

49

21.1

16

7.5

1.59

1.59

1.61

1.55

1.54

1.96

2.04

1 150

Public power plants

654.7

504

423

435.7

382.48

288.1

246.6

226.21

125.82

20.49

9.58

9 960

Other heating

33,3

21.9

12.4

10.5

0.78

0.6

0.88

0.87

0.31

0.22

0.24

0.220

Industry - heating

522.2

487.3

268

122.6

46.76

47.86

48.62

43.99

56.43

40.37

39.36

34 450

Industry - technology

 

 

18

8

7

7

10.47

11

9.16

9.93

9.42

10 220

Agriculture

38.1

29.1

22

14.1

4.47

5.39

5.17

5.11

2.55

2.53

2.41

2 250

Total

1632.8

1403.6

1010

704.9

486.15

399.78

365.36

346.95

247.32

129.28

118.24

84 410

 

 Nitrogen oxides emission trend in Hungary [kt/year]

 

Sector

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Households

18.2

21.5

19.5

13.5

9.24

9.97

10.36

12.06

11.46

12.52

12.48

8 920

Services

7,1

7,7

7

4,7

6,38

6,69

6,78

6,94

8,78

8,18

8

6,460

Transportation

111,3

110,5

116

101,4

109,85

112,94

115,65

114,2

111,84

135,26

142,7

123,310

Public power plants

69

61,6

45

40,9

35,4

31,38

30,39

30,7

27,51

24,26

21,33

23,970

Other heating

4,1

3,8

3

3,4

3,13

2,79

1,99

2,38

2,19

3,68

4,07

3,990

Industry   -  heating

53,3

48,8

19,5

13,8

10,84

10,84

10,86

10,86

10,64

11,59

11,69

11,550

Industry   - technology

 

 

21

9

7,5

7,5

6,31

6,5

5,42

5,5

5,57

9,400

Agriculture

9,9

8,6

7

3,3

3,11

3,36

3,2

2,54

2,85

2,66

2,51

2,270

Total

272,9

262,5

238

190

185,45

185,47

185,54

186,18

180,69

203,65

208,35

189,870

Particulate matter emission trend in Hungary [kt/year]

 

Sector

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Households

75,8

94,3

75

44,2

26,94

26,91

29,35

36,39

34,38

46,38

39,89

18,150

Services

12,2

13,9

10,5

6,1

3,75

3,31

3,8

4,06

3,72

0,1

0,12

0,100

Transportation

19,4

10,8

6

17,5

20,02

20,62

21,18

21,29

21,41

24,81

26,02

26,020

Public power plants

220

129

33

19,7

17,04

12,83

11,35

11,17

8,22

1,07

0,52

0,880

Other heating

3,2

2,2

1,5

1,2

0,02

0,02

0,08

0,08

0,04

0

0

0,000

Industry   -  heating

239,1

232,9

19,5

11,6

11,76

8,92

8,5

7,51

9,76

11,42

10,64

9,710

Industry   - technology

 

 

51

47

45

45

40

40

9,72

2,36

2,36

2,490

Agriculture

6,9

8,5

8,5

7,2

3,97

4,3

4,33

4,16

3,42

3,45

3,37

3,130

Total

576,6

491,6

205

154,5

128,5

121,91

118,59

124,66

90,67

89,59

82,92

60,48

 

Carbon monoxide emission trend in Hungary [kt/year]

 

Sector

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Households

150,06

178,73

134,34

53,7

24,35

30,2

32,6

35,7

31,39

33,28

32,34

20,81

Services

2,45

2,83

1,79

1,8

2,26

2,32

2,27

2,34

2,88

2,55

2,74

2,31

Transportation

546

514,6

568,04

448,9

435,92

423,7

413,85

406,8

397,584

420

423,16

422,62

Public power plants

35,74

30,68

19,41

18,3

13,3

12,29

12,77

13,73

13,26

12,67

7,65

8,51

Other heating

1,35

1,25

1,09

1,1

0,97

0,86

0,61

0,74

0,69

3,04

3,4

3,49

Industry   -  heating

 

 

10,9

6,5

5,42

5,25

5,16

5,12

5,18

5,75

6,19

6,07

Industry   - technology

281,44

201,04

260

230

150

100

95

100

90

109,23

92,91

42,85

Agriculture

1,96

1,97

1,41

1

0,82

0,9

0,88

0,74

0,76

0,73

0,68

0,60

Total

1019

931,1

996,98

761,3

633,04

575,52

563,14

565,17

541,744

587,25

569,07

507,26

 

NMVOC  emission trend in Hungary [kt/year]

 

Sector

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Households

 

 

 

 

19,97

19,29

20,91

26,39

25,27

34,45

32,48

14,93

Services

 

 

 

 

1,2

1,11

1,66

1,77

1,737

0,41

0,355

0,55

Transportation

 

 

 

 

60,93

59,4

58,79

56,92

58,2

58,58

59,911

58,06

Public power plants

 

 

 

 

0,82

0,84

0,76

0,81

1,24

1,76

1,598

2,1

Other heating

 

 

 

 

0,1

0,01

0,07

0,008

0,075

1,84

2,839

2,17

Industry   -  heating

 

 

 

 

8,9

7,51

7,45

6,95

8,83

9,74

9,158

9,33

Technology and others

 

 

 

 

98,743

68,02

64,676

59,98

60,21

68,721

68,76

59,61

Agriculture

 

 

 

 

1,99

2,09

2,15

2,085

1,91

1,96

1,51

1,4

Total

260,593

268,13

205,00

150,30

172,683

158,27

156,466

154,916

157,4735

177,4606

176,611

148,150

 

 

Sulphur dioxideNitrogen dioxide

 

 

 

Disclaimer

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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