Skip to main content

Air pollution from key sectors

EU laws regulate emissions of air pollutants from various sources and sectors. They are often accompanied by legal acts adopted by the Commission using its delegated and implementing powers.


60% of SO2 emissions in Europe are from energy generation and heating

Phasing out fossil fuels and investing in renewables will contribute to reducing particulate matter (PM 2.5)sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxides (NO2), which can cause respiratory diseases

Residential heating emissions can be reduced by insulating buildings, installing efficient boilers, and using clean energy sources for district heating


More than 40 % of nitrogen oxide emissions across Europe come from road traffic, particularly in urban areas and along busy streets. Diesel cars are among its main sources.

Traffic emissions can be reduced by:

Management of traffic and parking spaces, speed limits and low-emission zones

Switching to clean public transport, walking and biking


More than 90% of ammonia emissions to air in the EU come from agriculture: 75% from manure and 20% from inorganic fertiliser.

This leads to eutrophication and acidification of ecosystems, and to harmful particulate matter.

Agricultural emissions can be reduced by:

Closed manure storage and more precise application of manure and fertilisers

Improved livestock feeding strategies


Over 30,000 industrial installations in the EU account for:

  • 50% of total emissions to air of sulphur oxides and other harmful substances
  • 30% of nitrogen oxides and fine particulate matter air emissions

Industrial emissions can be reduced by:


Making the switch to clean energy sources, and using technology to destroy pollutants at the source

Opting for non-toxic materials to produce goods