Air pollution is estimated to cause around 4.2 million premature deaths* worldwide, and around 300 000 premature deaths due to fine particulate matter annually in Europe although many air pollutants have been reduced along with earlier policies.

The adverse health effects are projected to be prevented especially by reducing harmful fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions that adversely affects air quality and is strongly linked to the premature deaths caused by air pollution. Hence, the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO, 2021) were updated for PM2.5 and recommendations were given for monitoring ambient black carbon (BC) and particle number (PN) concentrations

Transportation is crucial in the worldwide distribution of food, materials, energy and more. However, all transport sectors are substantial emitters of air pollutants. The EU-funded PAREMPI project will reveal the contribution of the secondary aerosols (SecA) from transport sources to ambient PM2.5 levels via increased understanding of precursors, their atmospheric reactions and by a novel digital software (ePMI module).

Transport sectors’ influence on harmful ambient PM2.5 is largely unknown and hence increased understanding and scientific evidence are needed to justify policies and produce tools to enable the introduction of policies. Answering the key questions requires extensive emissions studies far beyond those covered by current emission standards.

But what exactly are PM2.5 particles?

Particles in the PM2.5 size range have diameters smaller than 2.5 µm and they can travel deeply into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs. Exposure to fine particles can cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, and contribute to medical conditions such as asthma, heart and pulmonary diseases. Nanosized particles are linked even to brain diseases. Particles may carry carcinogenic and mutagenic compounds and reactive compounds causing inflammation and tissue damage. Particles typically contain black carbon, which is evaluated as the second important anthropogenic contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide (CO2) emission.

*WHO. Ambient (Outdoor) Air Pollution. Available online (accessed on 15 August 2022)

To address the key challenges PAREMPI will

Generate scientific evidence on

◈ Contribution of transport sectors’ precursor exhaust emissions (volatile, semivolatile, particles) on Secondary Aerosols (SecA) through reactions in the atmosphere. Quantities and composition of formed secondary PM2.5, particularly in winter conditions.

◈ Harmfulness of transport sectors’ total PM2.5 emissions.

Develop tools for policies

◆ The novel digital software (ePMI module) developed for quantification of the SecA from precursor emissions.

◆ Estimate of external costs based on the health impact of PM2.5 originating from transport sources. Different PM2.5 compositions are considered in evaluation of possibilities to reduce external costs by avoiding premature deaths, lower healthcare costs and increasing working years.

◆ Robust emission measurement systems evaluated to enable measurements in real-driving conditions and monitoring of SecA emissions.

Recommend policies

◈ Identify policies targeting to transport sources significantly contributing to the most harmful ambient PM2.5 from transport sectors (road, non-road, marine, aviation) to enable efficient and cost-effective actions to improve air quality.

◈ Identify retrofitting possibilities to achieve near-term impacts and cost savings.

◈ Evaluate economical justification based on an improved estimate of external costs.

◈ Evaluate “polluter pays” options to find ways to fund clean investments.

◈ Policy recommendations to enable limit values, legal enforcement, and e-reporting.

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