Air pollution is an urgent environmental
problem in Belarus, as emissions per unit of territory are increasing. In the past five years, emissions of nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds rose by 8 percent; carbon monoxide by 6 percent; sulphur dioxide by 89 percent; and ammonia by 200 percent.
to 2009 data:
the transport sector was responsible for 75 percent of all air pollution;
the main air pollutants emitted by transport were sulphur dioxide (1,400 tonnes), nitrogen oxides (109,800 tonnes),
particulate matter (34,000 tonnes), carbon monoxide (777,800 tonnes), and volatile organic compounds (214,000
than 20 percent of all air pollution in Belarus was in the form of hydrocarbons emitted by
transportation-related emissions were generated in Minsk and the Minsk region, while
the lowest level of emissions was found in the Mogilev region.
Pollution from stationary sources
air pollution from stationary sources
is emitted by the industrial, energy, housing and service sectors. According to 2009 data:
industry and energy accounted for 70 percent of total emissions, and housing and services for 14 percent;
manufacturing industry was responsible for more than half of the
total emissions of each pollutant, with the exception of
hydrocarbons, around 50 percent of which originated from the housing and
service sectors. Industry was a significant source of emissions
of particulate matter, along with the housing and service sectors (over 10 percent)
and agriculture (10 percent). The housing and service sectors accounted for about 20 percent of carbon monoxide emissions;
the main air pollutants emitted from
stationary sources were sulphur dioxide (139,500 tonnes), nitrogen oxides (65,000 tonnes),
ammonia (19,600 tonnes), particulate matter (46,000 tonnes), carbon monoxide (74,600 tonnes), volatile organic
compounds (71,700 tonnes), cadmium (2 kg), lead (3.2
tonnes) and mercury (4 kg); and
gas treatment systems captured more than 2.5 tonnes of
pollutants, and existing systems were between 82 and 88 percent efficient.
Data from the air monitoring network in 2009 show that the
average annual concentration of specific pollutants in cities in Belarus, as in previous years, was below
the levels permitted by the state:
Levels in excess of the maximum permissible concentration (MPC)
were measured in only 0.25 percent of the analysed samples. In
most cases, the excess was between one and two times the MPC. No concentrations of any pollutant higher than 10 times the MPC were recorded.
some cities, levels in excess of the daily MPCs for total particulate matter, carbon monoxide and nitrogen
dioxide were recorded. The level of sulphur dioxide remained
consistently low: average annual and single maximum
concentrations were far lower than the levels permitted by the state.
In the city of Mogilev, single MPCs were exceeded for the most extensive range of
pollutants, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen
dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, phenol, ammonia and formaldehyde.
The status of the air
in Babruysk, Grodno, Navahrudak, Svietlahorsk, Lida and
Salihorsk, and in most of the monitored areas of Brest, Vitebsk,
Minsk, Gomel, Mozyr and Pinsk was assessed as stable and
Compared with previous years, the number of problem
areas in the industrial centres of Belarus fell by 22 percent.
However, nitrogen dioxide pollution remained a problem in some areas of Mogilev, Polatsk and Novapolatsk; and formaldehyde pollution was a problem in Brest,
Vitebsk, Orsha and Pinsk. Pollution by particulate matter has been a persistent problem for many years in cities in the southern part of Belarus, where large-scale land amelioration has been carried out (Gomel, Zhlobin, Mozyr, Rechica). In
dry periods, maximum concentrations of total solids in these cities
reached between two and six times the MPC. Two industrial
districts in Minsk showed elevated levels of pollution with particulate matter.