Heavy metal emissions in Europe

Heavy metals accumulate in ecosystems and damage human health. In line with the EU’s commitments under the Air Convention, specific legislation led to reductions in emissions of heavy metals across Europe from 1990 levels. Between 2005 and 2019, emissions have continued to decline, with lead emissions decreasing by 44%, mercury emissions by 45% and cadmium […]

Emissions of the main air pollutants in Europe

The air pollutants ammonia (NH 3 ), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), nitrogen oxides (NO X ), fine particulate matter (PM) and sulphur oxides (SO X ) damage human health and the environment, so reducing their emissions is a priority of both EU and international air quality legislation. Since 2005, emissions of all five pollutants […]

Consumption of ozone-depleting substances

In 2020, the EU continued to actively phase out ozone-depleting substances (ODS), in line with its commitment under the Montreal Protocol. Data for 2020 show that consumption of ODS in the EU remained negative (-2,023 metric tonnes), meaning that more substances were destroyed or exported than were produced or imported. The EU´s consumption of these […]

Primary and final energy consumption in Europe

The EU has been facing difficulties in reducing its energy consumption and was at risk of not meeting its 2020 energy efficiency target. In 2019, the EU’s primary energy consumption (for all energy uses) decreased for the second consecutive year. Final energy consumption (by end users) saw only a modest decrease, hampered by growing energy […]

Ecological status of surface waters in Europe

The Water Framework Directive aims to achieve good status for all rivers, lakes and transitional and coastal waters in the EU. Achieving good ecological status for surface waters is critical to this. According to countries’ second river basin management plans, good ecological status had been achieved for around 40% of surface waters (rivers, lakes and […]

Waste generation and decoupling in Europe

  Between 2010 and 2018, total waste generation increased by 5% (114 million tonnes) in the EU-27. When major mineral wastes are excluded from the total, it increased by 7% (50.3 million tonnes). This means that the EU-27 is not on track to meet its policy goal of reducing waste generation. These trends have been driven […]

Diversion of waste from landfill in Europe

A key goal of EU waste policy is to cut the amount of waste sent to landfill. Overall, the amount of landfill waste has decreased ( in 2018 it was  7.6% less than in 2010), even though the total amount of waste generated has continued to increase. The landfill rate — waste sent to landfill as […]

Industrial pollutant releases to water in Europe

Between 2010 and 2019, industrial releases to Europe’s water bodies of pollutants that are damaging to human health and the environment declined overall. Releases of heavy metals declined significantly, while emissions of nitrogen and phosphorus, which cause eutrophication, declined to a lesser extent. In the same period, the economic value of industry increased by 14%, […]

Industrial pollutant releases to air in Europe

Industrial releases of air pollutants that are damaging to human health and the environment decreased between 2010 and 2019 in Europe, with emissions of greenhouse gases (e.g. CO 2 and sulphur oxides) and other pollutants (e.g. nitrogen oxides, dust and heavy metals) all declining significantly. The value that industry generated for the European economy during […]

Greenhouse gas emission intensity of electricity generation in Europe

The greenhouse gas (GHG) emission intensity of power generation is falling across the EU. Climate mitigation and energy policies and legislation addressing air pollutant emissions from industrial installations support decarbonisation via a gradual switch to renewable or to less carbon-intensive fossil fuels and by improving the efficiency of transformation processes in the sector. By 2019, the […]