‘Diesel isn’t the only source of small particulates’
Île-de-France Air Quality Control Agency (Airparif) confirms that diesel cars, vans and trucks aren’t the only source of small particulates. For the whole Region, 45% of them are emanating from central heating systems, 24% from the manufacturing industry while diesel only accounts for 18%.
With every pollution peak, governments are pointing fingers at road traffic, especially diesel cars. This tendency has increased since the dieselgate scandal, but is this relentlessness justified?
“Nearly two-thirds of PM2,5 the very small and most harmful particulates, are imported in the Paris Region”, explained experts back in 2014 in a confidential document to the French government.
‘Difficult to measure’
Some pollutants are heavier than the air and, therefore, stay relatively at the same spot. This is not the case for small particulates. Coming from many sources, they are easily scattered through the air.
“Small particulates are one of the most difficult pollutants to measure”, confirms Karine Léger, manager of the Île-de-France Air Quality Control Agency (Airparif).
In the city of Paris or near major roads, road traffic is the first source of PM2,5 small particulates (45%). It is also true that diesel cars, trucks and vans account for 90% of all road traffic related small particulates emissions. Outside the city, however, it’s a different story.
45% from central heating
On the whole Île-de France Region, road traffic falls back at the third place of the small particulates emitting sources. It is only responsible for 18% of emissions while the manufacturing industry accounts for 24% and central heating for 45%.
Furthermore, wood-burning stoves used for central heating – being considered a sustainable source – are the worst. While they only account for 5% of consumption, they emit 85% of all central heating related small particulates.
In addition to the three above-mentioned sources of small particulates, comes agriculture. It accounts for 9% of all emissions, especially from ammonia. The only light shining at the end of the tunnel is that antipollution measures are working. Between 2010 and 2016, PM2,5 emissions have dropped by 10,5%, according to Airparif.