Presentation on theme: "Air quality in Europe - 2013 report. Air pollution impacts human health, contributes to climate change and damages ecosystems. Here are some of the pollutants."— Presentation transcript:
Air pollution impacts human health, contributes to climate change and damages ecosystems. Here are some of the pollutants the ‘Air quality in Europe – 2013 report’ investigates and their potential impacts. Why should we care about air pollution?
What are the main concerns for Europe’s air in 2013? Particulate matter (PM) and its threat to human health. Ozone (O 3 ) due to its health impacts and harm to vegetation. Eutrophication from high emissions of nitrogen oxides and ammonia. These pollutants can cause the atmospheric deposition of nutrient nitrogen to sensitive ecosystems, such as grasslands and nutrient-poor lakes.
How does air pollution impact human health? New scientific evidence indicates that the threshold at which air pollution can harm human health is much lower than was previously thought. This means that far more people may be being affected by air pollution.
Exposure to harmful levels of air pollution Up to a third of Europeans living in cities are exposed to air pollutant levels exceeding EU air quality standards. And around 90 % of Europeans living in cities are exposed to levels of air pollutants deemed damaging health by the World Health Organization’s more stringent guidelines. EU urban population exposed to harmful levels air pollution, according to: EU limit valuesWHO guidelines
What has been the European policy response? EU legislation limits the emissions of pollutants and sets maximum levels for concentrations of these pollutants in the air. For pollutant emissions, the 2001 National Emissions Ceiling (NEC) Directive sets ceiling limits for emissions of SO 2, NO X NMVOC and NH 3. These ceilings should have been met by all EU Member States by 2010. For pollutant concentrations, two Air Quality Directives (2008/50/EC and 2004/107/EC) set legally binding limits for ground-level concentrations of outdoor air pollutants.
Emissions have been reduced European countries have made progress in cutting emissions of several air pollutants. EU emissions of primary particulate matter (PM) and PM precursor gases:
In 2011, eight EU Member States were still not in compliance with one or more emission ceilings of the National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive. These ceilings should have been reached in all Member States by 2010. Data on NEC compliance are available here.here 2011 NO x emissions compared to NEC emission ceilings : Member States are exceeding emissions targets
Member States are exceeding concentration targets In 2011,18 EU Member States exceeded the value threshold for ozone (O 3 ) concentrations on more than 25 days. During the same year, 22 EU Member States exceeded the EU daily limit value for particulate matter (PM10) concentrations.
PM concentrations threaten health Despite the reductions in particulate matter emissions in the period 2002 to 2011, the percentage of Europeans exposed to PM levels above EU limit values remained stable over the past ten years. 3 in 10 exceeding the EU daily limit value 88% exceeding the WHO guideline value Share of urban population exposed to dangerous levels of PM10 in Europe:
High levels of O 3 concentrations harm human health and agricultural output. Losses of crop yields also have consequences for the European economy. EU emissions of the precursor gases that form O 3 have fallen by up to 32% since 2002, but there has been no discernible reduction in O 3 concentrations. Ozone concentrations threaten health & crops Exposure levels of European agricultural areas to ozone (O 3 ) in 2010:
Nitrogen concentrations threaten ecosystems Nitrogen dioxide (NO 2 ) can threaten ecosystems through eutrophication. In 2002-2011, NO 2 concentrations have not fallen as fast as overall emissions of nitrogen oxides (NO x ). This is attributed to the increased share of diesel vehicles in the European car fleet, as the proportion of NO 2 in the NO x emissions of a diesel vehicle is far higher than the proportion of NO 2 in the NO x emissions of a conventional-petrol vehicle. Annual mean concentrations of NO 2 in 2011:
Factors contributing to concentration levels Emission levels are not the only factor that determines concentrations of air pollutants. Factors like weather, chemical transformations in the air, and transport of pollutants from outside Europe all play a role. This means that a reduction in emissions of a pollutant do not always translate to an equivalent reduction in concentrations of that pollutant.
Lower emissions do not always lead to lower concentrations Percentage decline in carbon monoxide (CO) and PM10 concentrations and emissions between 2002-2011: CO concentrations are daily 8- hour maxima concentrations. PM10 emissions are emissions of primary PM10. Between 2002 and 2011, there was a significant decline in both the emission levels and the concentration levels for some pollutants (e.g. CO). For some others, there was a noticeable decline in emissions, but not in atmospheric concentrations (e.g. PM 10).
How can Europe respond to these challenges? Continued investment in the knowledge base Air monitoring stations across Europe feed the knowledge base on air. A failure to invest in and maintain this infrastructure could significantly limit our understanding of air pollution and its consequences. Further sectoral emission reductions Emissions of air pollutants derive from almost all economic and societal activities. Policies have resulted in decreased emissions of many air pollutants. Nevertheless, road transport, industry, power plants, households and agricultural activities continue to emit significant amounts of air pollution. Capacity building for implementation (add text) Countries to meet emission targets While immediate impacts on human heath and our economy are a main concern, avoiding being locked- in to unsustainable trends in the mid and long-term is also a priority. Continued exceedances of air quality standards raise particular concern in this respect.
European Environment Agency activities Knowledge institution Taking action on air pollution requires timely, reliable information. The European Environment Agency (EEA) plays a central role in gathering, quality checking and making available key data that makes policy development and evaluation possible. Air quality data and information reported by Member States is available via the EEA’s Airbase database.Airbase database Data analysis for policy development By quantifying both anthropogenic emission sources and air pollutant concentrations, we have a better idea of what activities contribute most to pollution and the impacts of air pollution. This assists policymakers to create better, more effective air pollution policy. Air quality reporting The report ‘Air Quality in Europe - 2013’ and other EEA publications on air pollution assess European air quality by looking at two main data sources: emissions of pollutants into the air, and concentrations and impacts of these pollutants in the air. The ‘Air Quality in Europe – 2013 report’ is available in full here.here
The ‘Air Quality in Europe – 2013 report’ is available in full here.here The EEA’s ‘Signals 2013 – Every breath we take’ publication that explains the current state of air quality in Europe is available here.here Air quality in Europe - 2013 report eea.europa.eu/air