Preliminary particulate matter balance 2018

The air quality in Austria has significantly improved in Austria in the course of the past few years. However, as far as particular matter is concerned, it happens that in individual cases, with particular weather conditions (in particular atmospheric inversion in winter) the particular matter PM10 EU threshold level calculated on a daily basis is exceeded, where unfavourable dispersion conditions aggravate the situation. The sources of particular matter are in this context first and foremost domestic heating and transport.

Sunset with clouds
sunset, photo: BMLRT / Bernhard Kern

The preliminary particulate matter balance 2018 of the Environment Agency Austria, which are based on the preliminary air quality measurements of the Offices of the Governments of the Federal Provinces, has shown a similarly low pollution level as in the previous years with the West being generally less polluted than the rest of Austria.

Exceedances of threshold values occurred first and foremost at the beginning of March during a short emission period.  The decisive facts for the continuous decline of the pollution since the year 2011 are, on the one hand, the considerably milder winters with shorter periods of low temperatures, and on the other hand, a permanent reduction of PM10 emissions due to efficient measures in particular in the transport sector (speed limits, driving bans, parking space management systems, traffic prevention, shift to environmentally friendly means of transport) and in the field of domestic heating (subsidised exchange of obsolete boilers by modern, low-emission heating systems; further development of district heating; increase of energy efficiency, for example by means of  thermal insulation and exchange of windows; awareness-raising by means of initiatives such as “Right way of heating with wood”.

The National Clean Air Programme, which is presently being worked out on the basis of the Air emissions Control Act 2018, and which will contain measures in all relevant sectors, gives rise to hope for a further improvement of air quality. The Climate and Energy Strategy (#mission2030) as well as the National Energy and Climate Plan will contribute as well to further reducing the particulate matter emissions.