Grzegorz Koszela, Luiza Ochnio, Tomasz Rokicki
Warsaw University of Life Sciences – SGGW, Poland
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The main purpose of the paper was to show the level of air pollution and its relation to economic development in the European Union countries. All European Union member states were selected for research purposefully. The research period concerned the years 2005-2016. Data was obtained from EUROSTAT and from the literature on the subject. For the analysis and presentation of materials, descriptive, tabular, graphical and gradual data analysis methods were used, including overrepresentation maps and Pearson's linear correlation coefficients. The issue of emissions of air pollutants is crucial because harmful substances contribute to the emergence of many diseases and increased mortality of society. The article focuses on harmful compounds that are subject to emission limits, i.e. sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrous oxide (NOx), emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), ammonia (NH3) emissions and PM2.5 fraction dust. Nitrogen oxides and non-methane volatile organic compounds were the most emitted in the EU. The smallest emission was for PM2.5. In the years 2005-2016, sulfur oxide emissions decreased the fastest, while emissions of ammonia and PM2.5 dust increased. Taking into account all five pollutants, the ranking of countries meeting the emission obligations against the EU background is presented. Greece, Croatia and Belgium were the best in this area, while Hungary, Latvia and Germany were the worst. A positive relationship was found between the strength of changes in the level of GDP and the emission of air pollutants. In the EU countries, in the years 2005-2016, regularities between the level of economic development and pollution emissions in line with the environmental Kuznets curve were confirmed. In the economically developed EU countries, despite the pressure of economic development, there was a reduction in air pollution.
Keywordsenvironmental protection in EU, emissions of air pollutants, environmental Kuznets curve, grade data analysis, synthetic indicator