Air pollution - State & Impacts
What are the state and impacts?
Despite substantial progress in reducing emissions especially during the 1980s, in recent years the limit value for the daily mean of PM10 of Directive 2008/50/EC (50 µg/m³ not to be exceeded more than 35 times per year) was exceeded in several provincial capitals and small towns. The only larger Austrian town with PM10 levels below the limit value in most years is Salzburg. The sources that are mainly responsible include road transport, residential heating using solid fuels, the industrial sector and the building industry, as well as agriculture in rural areas and, to some extent, long-distance transport.
Figure 1 shows the average concentration and number of exceedances of all urban and suburban monitoring sites in Austria from 2001 to 2008. Especially in 2007 and 2008 the levels were rather low. This was on the one hand due to favourable meteorological conditions, on the other hand a result of national and international abatement measures.
The limit value for the annual mean of nitrogen dioxide of Directive 2008/50/EC (40 µg/m³) is exceeded in Austria occasionally, especially close to roads with heavy traffic. The main source of NOx emissions in urban areas is traffic (see also Figure 13). Figure 3 shows the average annual mean concentrations of NO2 in urban and suburban monitoring sites from 1993 to 2008. Until the year 2000, NO2 levels were decreasing whereas in the years afterwards no statistical significant trend can be observed. In the year 2008, NO2 concentrations were on the same level as in the year 2000, despite a reduction of NOx emissions. At highly polluted sites, an increase in NO2 concentrations was also observed (Figure 4). This is caused by an increase in primary NO2 emissions due to exhaust after-treatment systems of diesel passenger cars.