1 Background 4 Objectives and coverage 4

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Acknowledgements 2

Executive summary 3

1. Introduction 4

1.1.Background 4

1.2.Objectives and coverage 4

1.3.Effects of Air Pollution 4

Human health 4

Ecosystems 5

Climate change 5

The built environment and cultural heritage 6

1.4 Policy and legislation 7

2. Sources and emissions of air pollutants 9

2.1. Sources of regulated pollutants 9

2.2. Total emissions of air pollutants 10

2.3. Sectoral emissions of air pollutants 11

2.4. Uncertainties in reported emissions 13

3. Residential combustion: an important source of air pollution 14

3.1. Air pollutant emissions from residential combustion 15

3.2 Impact on air quality 16

3.3 Mitigating emissions from residential wood combustion 17

3.4 Conclusions and recommendations 19

4. Particulate matter 20

4.1. European air-quality standards and World Health Organization guidelines for particulate matter 20

4.2. Status and trends in concentrations 20

4.2.1. Exceedances of limit and target values 20

4.2.2. Trends in ambient particulate matter concentrations 22

4.2.3. Relationship of emissions to ambient particulate matter concentrations 23

5. Ozone 25

5.1. European air-quality standards and World Health Organization guidelines for ozone 25

5.2. Status and trends in concentrations 25

5.2.1. Exceedance of the target values for protection of health 26

5.2.2. Trends in ambient ozone concentrations 26

5.2.3. Relationship of ozone precursor emissions and concentrations to ambient ozone concentrations 27

6. Nitrogen dioxide 30

6.1. European air-quality standards and World Health Organization guidelines for NO2 30

6.2. Status and trends in concentrations 30

6.2.1. Exceedances of limit values for the protection of human health 30

6.2.2.Trends in ambient NO2 concentrations 31

6.2.3. Relationship of nitrogen oxides emissions and nitrogen dioxide concentrations 32

7. Benzo[a]pyrene 34

7.1. European air-quality standards and reference level for benzo[a]pyrene 34

7.2. Status and trends in concentrations 34

7.2.1. Exceedances of the target value 34

7.2.2.Trends in ambient BaP concentrations 35

8. Other pollutants: sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, toxic metals and benzene 36

8.1. European air-quality standards and World Health Organization guidelines 36

8.2. Status and trends in concentrations 36

8.2.1. Sulphur dioxide 36

8.2.2. Carbon monoxide 37

8.2.3. Toxic metals 38

8.2.4. Benzene 39

9. Population exposure to air pollutants in European urban areas 40

9.1. Particulate matter 40

9.2. Ozone 41

9.3. Nitrogen dioxide 41

9.4. Benzo[a]pyrene 41

9.5. Sulphur dioxide 42

9.6. Carbon monoxide 42

9.7. Toxic metals (arsenic, cadmium, lead and nickel) 42

9.8. Benzene 42

10. Health impacts of exposure to fine particulate matter, ozone and nitrogen dioxide 43

11. Impacts of air pollution on ecosystems 46

11.1. Vegetation damage by ground-level ozone 46

11.2. Eutrophication 48

11.3. Acidification 48

11.4. Environmental impacts of toxic metals 49

11.5. Ecosystem exposure to nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide 50

Abbreviations, units and symbols 51

References 54


Executive summary

1. Introduction

    1. Background

Air pollution is a very important environmental and social issue and, at the same time, it is a complex problem posing multiple challenges in terms of management and mitigation. Air pollutants are emitted from anthropogenic and natural sources; they may be either emitted directly or formed in the atmosphere; they have a number of impacts on health, ecosystems, the built environment and the climate; they may be transported or formed over long distances; and they may affect large areas. Effective action to reduce the impacts of air pollution requires a good understanding of its causes, how pollutants are transported and transformed in the atmosphere, and how they impact on humans, ecosystems, the climate, and subsequently society and the economy. Effective air-quality policies call for action and cooperation on global, European, national and local levels, which extends across most economic sectors and which engages the public. Holistic solutions involving technological development, structural changes, including the optimisation of infrastructures and urban planning, and behavioural changes must be found.
    1. Objectives and coverage

This report presents an updated overview and analysis of air quality in Europe and is focused on the state in 2014 and the development over the past 15 years, from 2000 (or later, pending data availability) to 2014. The evaluation of the status of air quality is based on ambient air measurements, in conjunction with anthropogenic emissions and their trends. Parts of the assessment also rely on air-quality modelling. In addition, the report includes an overview of the latest findings and estimates of the effects of air pollution on health, and its impacts on ecosystems.

The report reviews progress towards meeting the requirements of the two Ambient Air Quality Directives presently in force (EU, 2004; EU, 2008) and the long-term objectives of achieving levels of air pollution that do not lead to unacceptable harm to human health and the environment, as presented in the latest two European Environment Action Plans (EAPs) (EU, 2002; EU, 2013).

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