Directive (EU) 2016/2284, reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants

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The directive is amending Directive 2003/35/EC (providing for public participation in respect of the drawing up of certain plans and programmes relating to the environment) and repealing Directive 2001/81/EC. It entered into force at the end of 2016 and aims at compliance with the 2012 amended Gothenburg Protocol. In July 2017, the EU ratified the 2012 amendments to the 1999 protocol.

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Exposure of Europe's ecosystems to acidification, eutrophication and ozone This indicator shows the negative impact of air pollution on ecosystems and vegetation in Europe. In particular, it shows: ecosystem areas with exceedances of the critical loads for acidification and eutrophication; and exposure of areas covered with vegetation (crops and forests) to ground-level ozone, the latest available rural concentrations of ozone and the annual variation of rural concentrations of ozone  at the European level . In the case of acidification and eutrophication, the area as well as the magnitude of critical load exceedances in ecosystems are shown. A critical load is a quantitative estimate of an exposure to one or more pollutants, below which significant harmful effects on specified sensitive elements of the environment do not occur according to present knowledge (ICP on Modelling and Mapping, 2015; UNECE, 2015). It represents the upper limit of one or more pollutants deposited on the Earth's surface that an ecosystem, such as a lake or a forest, can tolerate without its function (e.g. the nutrient nitrogen cycle) or its structure (e.g. with respect to plant species' richness) being damaged. A positive difference between the deposition loads of acidifying and/or eutrophying airborne pollutants and the critical loads is termed an 'exceedance'. In the case of ozone, the risk is estimated by reference to either a target value and a long-term objective, or to the 'critical level' for ozone for each location. The target value and the long-term objective are levels fixed with the aim of avoiding, preventing or reducing harmful effects on the environment. For ozone, the critical level is a concentration in the atmosphere, above which direct adverse effects on receptors, such as human beings, plants, ecosystems or materials, may occur according to present knowledge (ICP on Modelling and Mapping, 2015; UNECE, 2015).   
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