Pollutant emissions were globally reduced over the decade 2008-2018 in Toulouse and Occitanie, according to Atmo Occitanie. In detail, the decrease mainly concerns nitrogen oxides and fine particles, mainly emitted by transport and heating. Greenhouse gas emissions remain stable.
Are Toulouse and Occitanie more polluted than before? This is not what the assessment of the decade 2008-2018 carried out by Atmo, the organization in charge of monitoring pollution levels in the region, shows.
Thus, according to a report made public this Wednesday, January 19 by Agnès Langevine, president of Atmo Occitanie and Dominique Tilak, its director, emissions of nitrogen oxides and fine particles PM2.5 have been falling since 2008, all sectors. combined (transport, heating, economic activities).
Nitrogen oxides (-7.5% over the period) are produced mainly by transport, and PM2.5 (-8% over the period) by heating and transport. They have an impact on health: asthma attacks, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, etc.
General decrease in energy consumption
The reasons for this drop in emissions over the past decade? “The general decline in energy consumption (despite the increase in population), but also the renewal of rolling vehicles and heating appliances in private homes”, explains Dominique Tilak.
Atmo observed a drop in pollutants that directly influence health, but also a slight increase (+2%) in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the period.
These famous GHGs, which have no direct impact on health, but contribute to global warming… Finally, ammonia emissions, emitted mainly by the agricultural sector, are expected to increase over the period (+9 %).
Focus on transport: reduction in pollution, despite the increase in traffic
Emissions of air pollutants associated with transport in Occitania are decreasing
regularly since 2008, due to the modernization of vehicles and the regular renewal
of the vehicle fleet.
In 2008, 69,002 tons of nitrogen dioxide were emitted by transport in the region. In 2018, this figure fell to 46,748 tonnes (-11%). PM2.5 fine particle emissions also fell, from 3,941 tonnes to 2,164 tonnes (-15%). This decline took place despite an 8% increase in kilometers traveled by cars and trucks in particular, between 2008 and 2018.
Greenhouse gas emissions from transport have tended to remain stable, or have even increased slightly since 2014 (+1.6%). Unit emissions of greenhouse gases from vehicles are only decreasing very slightly, notes Atmo, due to the modernization of engines.
Heating: lots of fine particles
More than half of the PM2.5 particles emitted (52%) come from heating systems.
The heating of buildings is the 2nd contributor to regional GHG emissions after road traffic, observe Atmo. Nitrogen oxides are emitted by the heating of residential or tertiary buildings, in particular by the use of natural gas and domestic fuel oil in boilers.
Toulouse and Occitan homes are mainly heated with electricity (49%) and gas (24%). The use of fuel oil has tended to decrease over the past 10 years, and wood heating is progressing.
Will this general reduction in pollution be sufficient to achieve the objectives?
Yes, as far as fine particles are concerned. According to estimates made by Atmo Occitanie, the target for reducing PM2.5 particle emissions defined by the National Plan for the Reduction of Pollutant Emissions was exceeded in 2018. The estimated reductions are twice as large as those expected by the national plan. .
On the other hand, the reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions are slightly below the objectives to be achieved. “This trend is therefore to be followed over the coming years to ensure compliance with the objective to be reached in 2030, which in the current state of knowledge would not be achieved”, underlines Agnès Langevine, president of Atmo .