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EEA report shows black carbon insufficiently monitored in EU

In a technical report on the status of black carbon monitoring in ambient air in Europe, the EEA has argued the European Union's Air Quality Directive is not being fully implemented. The Directive requires Member States to sample, analyse and report fine particulate matter concentrations. For stations in rural areas, the Member States also have to report how much BC‐related components the measured PM2.5 contains. The report notes that this reporting has yet to be fully implemented. Monitoring of BC in ambient air at urban background and traffic sites is not required by EU legislation

Black carbon (BC) is increasingly discussed in science and environmental policy areas as an example of an air pollutant that affects both human health and contributes to climate change.

This EEA report provides a summary of BC definitions as discussed in the air quality monitoring community. It also provides a summary of the current status of BC‐related monitoring in Europe. Information presented in the report includes an overview of available measurement techniques and associated technical issues, monitoring networks and current data reporting practices.

BC is a light‐absorbing, carbon‐containing constituent of particulate matter formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biomass and biofuels. A major source of BC includes vehicles, particularly diesel‐driven road vehicles. Other sources include: non‐road mobile machinery, ships, residential heating, and open biomass burning.

Particulate matter is one of the most important air pollutants as it penetrates into sensitive regions of the respiratory system, and can cause or aggravate cardiovascular and lung diseases.

BC scatters and absorbs solar radiation entering the Earth's atmosphere. It is the component of airborne PM which most absorbs light and is viewed as a major contributor to climate change


Issue 30