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Emissions of fine particles (primary PM10)

The primary emissions of PM10 in the Brussels Region have decreased significantly since 1990, predominantly between 1990 and 2006 (a 69% decrease). Since then, the emissions of PM10 have stabilised.
According to the figures of 2011, the transport sector is the primary source of the local PM10 emissions, representing 73% of the direct emissions (via exhaust fumes, since PM occur as a result of vehicle fuel combustion). The contributions from the energy consumption in the residential sector (20%) and the tertiary sector (4%) are also important.

Context

Fine particles, also referred to as “PM10”, are particles that are smaller than 10 µm in diameter. A distinction is made between the primary fine particles which are emitted directly by natural (for instance soil erosion) or anthropogenic sources (traffic, industry, heating,...), and secondary fine particles which form in the air as a result of chemical reactions between other existent pollutants.

The emissions of fine particles are dealt with in various European directives depending on their emission source. The emissions are regulated because of the particles' impact on human health; the health effects depend on their size (finer particles penetrate deeper into the lungs) and on their chemical composition. PM also affect the environment (climate, flora, or real estate).

Emitted amounts of PM10 per source

In 2011, approximately 321 tonnes of primary PM10 was emitted within the Brussels territory.
The transport sector is the primary source of the local PM10 emissions, representing 73% of the direct emissions (via exhaust fumes, since PM occurs as a result of vehicle fuel combustion). The energy consumption within the residential sector (20%) and the tertiary sector (4%) is also a major source of emission.

Sectoral distribution of the primary PM10 emissions in the Brussels-Capital Region (2011)
Source: Environnement Bruxelles-Leefmilieu Brussel, Dpt Planning air, energy and climate

 Sectoral distribution of the primary PM10 emissions in the Brussels-Capital Region (2011)

Evolution of the emitted amounts

 The primary PM10 emission has decreased significantly since 1990, predominantly between 1990 (1,082 tonnes) and 2006 (385 tonnes, or a 69% decrease compared to 1990). Since then the PM10 emissions have stabilised.

Primary emissions of PM10 in the Brussels-Capital Region between 1990 and 2011
Source: Environnement Bruxelles-Leefmilieu Brussel, Dpt Planning air, energy and climate

 Primary emissions of PM10 in the Brussels-Capital Region between 1990 and 2011
The decrease before 2006 can be explained by multiple factors.

  • The decrease occurred mainly in the road traffic domain, in which emissions fell from 549 tonnes in 1990 to 284 tonnes in 2005, despite the increase in traffic (according to Statbel, there was an 7% increase in kilometres travelled within the BCR in that period). The explanation for this undoubtedly lies in the technological improvement of truck engines and, to a lesser extent, car engines (catalytic converters, EURO standards,...).
  • The emissions from the residential and tertiary sectors are related to the energy consumption within those sectors. Calculation of which is based on the energy balance of the Region (corrected according to the number of heating degree days). The observed decrease is therefore related to the decreasing energy consumption (for additional information, see the "energy indicators").
  • The emissions from the waste incinerator fell dramatically between 2005 and 2006 thanks to the installation of a filter in 2006. The decrease is also the result of a revised emission factor (methodological change).
  • The reduced cokes production followed by the closure of the cokes plant of Marly in 1993 explains the dramatic decrease between 1990 and 2000 within the category "Others". The decrease of "other" emissions between 2005 and 2006 results from a change in the calculation method for domestic navigation.

 

 

Date de mise à jour: 19/01/2018