Air pollution sources

Page Last modified 10 Nov 2017
1 min read
Air pollutants are emitted from a range of both man-made and natural sources including:
  • burning of fossil fuels in electricity generation, transport, industry and households;
  • industrial processes and solvent use, for example in the chemical and mining industries;
  • agriculture;
  • waste treatment;
  • natural sources, including volcanic eruptions, windblown dust, sea-salt spray and emissions of volatile organic compounds from plants.

Air pollutants can be released directly into the atmosphere (primary emissions) or can form as a result of chemical interaction involving precursor substances.

The air pollutant emissions cause air pollution, however, reductions in emissions do not always automatically result in similar cuts in concentrations. There are complex links between air pollutant emissions and air quality. These include emission heights, chemical transformations, reactions to sunlight, additional natural and hemispheric contributions and the impact of weather and topography. Significant cuts in emissions are essential for improving air quality.

Air pollution is not the same anywhere. Different pollutants are released into the atmosphere from a wide range of sources, including industry, transport, agriculture, waste management and households. Certain air pollutants are also released from natural sources.

Source: EEA Signals 2013

 

 

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Filed under:
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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