Main types of pollution


This is a very important group of pollution, often connected with point sources (usually chimneys). Industrial pollution consists of substances emitted to the atmosphere from combustion and the key role here is played by energy industry, as well as technological processes of chemical, metallurgic, oil-refining industry, mines, and cement mills (Janka, 2014). Space structure of point emission, quantity, and type of emitted compounds are dependent on the kind of industry located on various areas. It should be noted that the quantity of industrial pollution emission drops systematically both on the European scale and in Poland (EEA). According to the E-PRTR report from 2009, 55 out of 622 most burdensome plants in Europe were located in Poland, primarily power plants and heat and power plants.


Mobile source pollution is divided into two categories: vehicles moving on roads (motorcycles, cars, heavy-loaded trucks, delivery trucks, and buses) and vehicles moving outside roads and other motor vehicles (airplanes, heavy equipment, e.g. construction equipment, engines, marine vessels, inland ships, recreational vehicles, e.g. scooters, and small motor vehicles, e.g. mowers).

As far as emission from road transport is concerned, a road stretch is understood as a single emitter, and the emission is determined by the concentration and the structure of vehicles movement. Road transport is the major source of nitrogen oxide emission, as well as particulate matter and aromatic hydrocarbons. Transport emission comes from combustion occurring in engines, deterioration of linings and tires, and pollutant emission from roads. Regarding this type of sources, major contributors to general balance of emission in Poland are cars and heavy-loaded trucks.


Municipal pollution includes individual heating, as well as gathering and removing of waste. So as to simplify, it is defined as surface emission, because of the fact that there is a big aggregation of small emitters on a relatively small surface. This group of pollution consists of emission from individual heating systems in the first place and thus the emission quantity is dependent on a few factors:

• air temperature in the heating season,

• type and quality of fuel,

• type of heating (kind of boiler, way of combustion),

• heat-insulating features of buildings,

• individual factors (preferred temperature in accommodation).

Emission of municipal pollution, which is described as low (the height of emitters does not exceed 40 m), is the primary factor influencing the air quality in Poland and it contributes to overstepping the permissible limits of particulate matter concentration. The reason of such situation is the structure of fuel consumption in heat production, in Dolnośląskie voivodeship- 50% of all fuels in use is coal.

Averaged structure of fuels used in heating in communes in Dolnośląskie voivodeship in 2014 (source: Report on environment state in Dolnośląskie voivodeship in 2014, WIOŚ Wrocław))


Agricultural pollution is a specific type of surface emission. It involves emission from machines, crops, breeding, farms, meadows, or forests. In urban areas this kind of pollution is of secondary importance. Main pollution substances emitted on agricultural areas, production holdings in particular, include: ammonia NH3, nitrogen monoxide N2O, and odours. Ammonia, along with other gas pollution from communicational or industrial emission (nitrogen and sulphur oxides), creates aerosols with particles no bigger than 2.5 µm in the atmosphere. Studies indicate that this is one of primary sources of fine particulates in the atmosphere in many countries.

Emission of ammonia NH3 from agriculture in 2008 [t/grid 5x5km], data from EEA database

Emission of particulate matter PM10 from agriculture in 2008 [t/grid 5x5km], data from EEA database

Elaborated by A.Drzeniecka-Osiadacz