Impact of non-industrial pollution

Brussels, 19 Sep 2006

The European Commission has published an inventory of pollution from non-industrial sources, such as cars, aeroplanes, ships and household appliances. This 'diffuse' pollution is usually excluded from pollution measures, but its inclusion will allow more accurate and targeted policy-making in the future. 'This first inventory of pollution from small or non-industrial sources will contribute to protecting people's health and the environment. With this inventory we will now have a complete picture of the sources and total amounts of pollutants. This in turn will enable us to develop better targeted and thus more effective policies for fighting pollution,' said Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.

Once comprehensive data are collected, then the information can be used to compile a European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (European PRTR). The first results suggest that diffuse pollution is 'substantial', with more impact than industrial pollution in some cases. The greatest emissions are from road transport, domestic heating and agriculture.

For example, copper pollution from car braking systems sent some 260 tonnes of copper into the environment in 2003 - approximately double the total from European regulated industrial plants.

The European Pollutant Emission Register (EPER) already includes data from 9,200 industrial plants. The proposed European PRTR will begin in 2009, using 2007 data, and replace the EPER. 91 pollutants in 65 industries will be included in the register.

The inclusion of diffuse pollutants is a complicated procedure, taking in existing statistics published under the following: The National Emission Ceiling Directive; the UN-ECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution; the inventories of greenhouse gas emissions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and Member States' reports on the impact on water bodies of diffuse sources of pollution under the Water Framework Directive.

For further information, read the EPER inventory at http://www.eper.ec.europa.eu

Data are also available from http://www.eea.europa.eu/main_html

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