Air pollution - Why care? (Luxembourg)
- Air pollution
Luxembourg presents a mixed assessment with regard to air quality. Several atmospheric pollutants have been reduced over the last 10 years but, for some, the decrease has not been significant enough to meet emission targets set by the NEC Directive. This is particularly the case for nitrogen oxide (NOx), a precursor of ozone, whilst concentrations of ground-level ozone are regularly above the pre-alert threshold for the protection of human health at several sites.
Various responses have been put in place, notably transposing the EU legislation, and targeting the two main air pollution issues: NOx and ground-level ozone.
Emissions of several atmospheric pollutants – sulphur oxide (SOx), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) – have been reduced in Luxembourg over the last 10 years. Emissions of NMVOC should meet the reduction target set by the EU Directive on National Emission Ceilings (NEC) for 2010. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) concentrations have been kept well below the authorised limit for the protection of human health. Similarly, the limit for fine breathable particles (PM10) has never been exceeded. However, limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are being exceeded in the city of Luxembourg, primarily because of automobile traffic. Luxembourg is unlikely to meet the target for NOx emissions set by the NEC Directive and measures will have to be taken to control the main sources of NOx (district heating, industry and transportation) which is a precursor of ozone. These measures will help prevent the formation of ozone which is particularly important since concentrations of ground-level ozone are regularly above the pre-alert threshold for the protection of human health at several sites. The country has yet to come up with a regional ozone plan. Bio-surveillance programmes for dioxins and furans (PCDD/F) in the vicinity of steel plants indicate that certain health standards are sometimes not observed.
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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