Air pollution - State and impacts (Lithuania)
- Air pollution
In 2007, emissions to air in Lithuania were significantly lower than in 1991 (403 300 tonnes in 2007 as against 1 022 900 tonnes in 1991, see Fig. 1). Fluctuations of emissions to air from local sources of pollution were influenced by changes in Lithuania’s economy and the implementation of environmental measures (e.g. the introduction of fuel with a lower sulphur content in the energy sector, causing sulphur dioxide emissions to decrease from 169 400 tonnes in 1991 to 38 700 tonnes in 2007). Meanwhile, emissions from mobile sources of pollution contracted due to the renewal of the motor vehicle fleet. In 1991, emissions to air from the transport sector included 462 000 tonnes of carbon monoxide and 81 000 tonnes of nitrogen oxides, while in 2007 carbon monoxide emissions had shrunk to 93 600 tonnes and nitrogen oxide emissions to 47 200 tonnes. Thus, in 2007, SO2 emissions accounted for 27 %, NOx for 63 %, volatile organic compounds (VOC) for 80 % and NH3 for 43 % of the set emission ceilings.
The largest sources of pollutants for which national emission ceilings have been established (SO2, NOx, VOC and NH3) are the energy, transport and industry sectors:
Ø In 2007, emissions from oil refineries, power and heat production and other energy and household sectors accounted for almost 60 % of total SO2 emissions;
Ø The sector producing the largest NH3 emissions is agriculture. Over 70% of all ammonia is released from livestock manure, with another 12 % of emissions from soil;
Ø The largest VOC pollution comes from the use of paints containing solvents (21.3 %), production and storage of petrochemicals (12.7 %) and the burning of wood-based fuels by households (14.3%);
Ø Of the total NOx emissions from all sectors, 68 % come from the transport sector alone (emissions from passenger vehicles and heavy goods vehicles account for 28 % and 40 %, respectively);
Ø The largest PM10 and PM2.5 emissions are produced by households, power and heat production and other sectors of industry. PM emissions from these sectors account for 60 % and 66 %, respectively.
In the period 2005–2008, average annual concentrations of the main pollutants in Lithuania did not exceed the limit values.
Urban air pollution by particulate matter has been gradually decreasing since 2004. For the first time in 2008, the number of daily limit value exceedances of particulate matter was below the maximum allowable number (daily limit value not to be exceeded more than 35 days per year) (Fig. 2). In previous years, a fairly large number of exceedances had been recorded as a result of the sand and salt mixture spread on streets during the winter season to improve traffic safety. In 2008, this activity was not so intensive due to the unusually warm winter. This factor, along with the implementation of local municipal air quality control measures, may have been instrumental in determining lower levels of air pollution containing particulate matter.