Industrial air pollution cost Europe up to €169 billion in 2009, EEA reveals

Published: Nov 24, 2011 Source: European Environment Agency

Air pollution from the 10,000 largest polluting facilities in Europe cost citizens between € 102 and 169 billion in 2009. This was one of the findings of a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) which analysed the costs of harm to health and the environment caused by air pollution. Half of the total damage cost (between € 51 and 85 billion) was caused by just 191 facilities.

Air Pollution Europe

The report, ‘Revealing the costs of air pollution from industrial facilities in Europe’, provides a list of the individual facilities that contribute the most harm.

The industrial facilities covered by the analysis include large power plants, refineries, manufacturing combustion and industrial processes, waste and certain agricultural activities. Emissions from power plants contributed the largest share of the damage costs (estimated at €66–112 billion). Other significant contributions to the overall damage costs came from production processes (€23–28 billion) and manufacturing combustion (€8–21 billion). Sectors excluded from the EEA analysis include transport, households and most agicultural activities – if these were included the cost of pollution would be even higher.

Our analysis reveals the high cost caused by pollution from power stations and other large industrial plants. The estimated costs are calculated using the emissions reported by the facilities themselves. By using existing tools employed by policy-makers to estimate harm to health and the environment, we revealed some of the hidden costs of pollution. We cannot afford to ignore these issues.

Professor Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director

Continue reading

Ozone and particulates most serious air quality problems in Europe

Published: Nov 09, 2011 Source: European Environment Agency

Air quality in Europe has improved between 1990 and 2009, as emissions of most pollutants have fallen, according to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA). But there is still a lot of room for improvement, as many EU countries are expected to exceed the emissions ceilings in 2010 for at least one pollutant. In addition, concentration levels of ground-level ozone and particulate matter have remained stable over recent years despite efforts to improve air quality.

Air Pollution

Although emissions have fallen over the last two decades, this has not always led to a corresponding drop in pollutant concentrations in the air. This is particularly true in the case of particulate matter (PM) and ground-level ozone, as there is a complex relationship between emissions and air quality.

Ozone and PM are the most problematic pollutants for health, potentially causing or aggravating cardiovascular and lung diseases and leading to premature death. Eutrophication, an oversupply of nutrient nitrogen in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems is another major problem caused by air pollutants. Ammonia (NH3) from agriculture and nitrogen oxides (NOx) from combustion processes are now the main acidifying and eutrophying air pollutants, as sulphur pollution has fallen in recent years. Many air pollutants also contribute to climate change.

Europe’s air quality is generally getting better, but concentrations of some pollutants are still endangering people’s health. To improve air quality further, we need to use many different kinds of policies and measures. These could include reducing emissions levels at source, better urban planning to reduce people’s exposure and lifestyle changes at the individual level

Professor Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director

Continue reading

Clean air gains momentum in the European political arena

Last year Camfil Farr started to develop a dialogue with stakeholders involved in the policy-making process in Europe, including Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), expert groups mandated for developing new regulations for the energy efficiency of ventilation systems, and policymakers from the European Commission and government agencies.

The objective is to share Camfil Farr’s expertise on the best available technology for air filtration and the options for ensuring that indoor air quality (IAQ) and public health will not be compromised by the next set of European regulations for the energy efficiency of buildings and ventilation systems.

Another purpose is to encourage debates and build awareness of how low-energy air filtration solutions can play a key role in reducing the energy consumption of buildings while also improving IAQ and impacting both sustainability and human health positively.

EU policymakers have long focused on the quality of outdoor air, drawing up strategies and targets for reducing harmful emissions of pollutants from cars and heavy industries.

However, a recent EU-funded research project found that levels of many harmful air pollutants are higher indoors than outdoors.

And while EU rules are patchy, Europeans have been growing into an increasingly sedentary people, spending on average 90% of their time indoors. Continue reading