Fine Particulate Matter Emissions

Emissions from open sources contribute the majority of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Open sources are diffuse sources emitted over large geographical areas. They are often located in areas outside of urban centers. In 2013, open sources accounted for 79% of the national total of 1484 kilotonnes (kt) of PM2.5 and were largely emitted by activities associated with construction operations and dust from paved and unpaved roads.

The remaining 21% of PM2.5 emissions came from other sources such as home firewood burning and industrial activities. Between 1990 and 2013, emissions of PM2.5 from open sources increased by 423 kt (56%) while emissions from other sources declined by 54% (357 kt) over the period.

Fine particulate matter emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2013

graph

Long description

The stacked area chart shows fine particulate matter emissions in Canada for 1990 to 2013 with and without open sources.

Data for this chart
Fine particulate matter emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2013
YearOpen sources
(annual national emissions in kilotonnes)
Other sources excluding open sources
(annual national emissions in kilotonnes)
1990754.8663.7
1991711.8632.9
1992690.5612.3
1993698.7618.2
1994756.4621.6
1995702.2609.0
1996707.1596.1
1997790.6574.1
1998663.5572.1
1999695.2554.3
2000683.3541.2
2001695.7489.8
2002670.5493.6
2003702.5455.5
2004724.0449.9
2005754.4426.4
2006820.1353.6
2007909.1348.8
20081008.6341.0
2009911.0319.8
20101006.9329.4
20111064.6320.4
20121173.7312.0
20131177.7305.8

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How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator only reports air pollutant emissions from human-related sources. Open sources are shown separately in the chart to provide a picture of their impact on national PM2.5 emissions.
Source: Environment Canada (2015) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

Fine particulate matter emissions by source

Open sources have been removed from the indicator in order to show the contribution of other sources that have more of an impact on the population. Removing open source emissions provides results that reflect the efforts of governments to reduce emissions where the majority of Canadians are the most exposed.

Emissions from home firewood burning were the largest source of PM2.5 in 2013, representing 165 kt (54% of the national total excluding open sources = 306 kt). Industrial sources excluding oil and gas industry (Other industries) emitted the next-largest proportions of national PM2.5 emissions, representing 18% (54 kt), followed by transportation (road, rail, air, marine) with 11% (33 kt). Between 1990 and 2013, industrial sources excluding oil and gas industry had the largest reduction (140 kt) in emissions.

Fine particulate matter emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2013

graph

Long description

The stacked area chart shows fine particulate matter emissions in Canada, excluding open sources, by source for the years 1990 to 2013. The emissions are expressed in kilotonnes.

Data for this chart
Fine particulate matter emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2013
YearHome firewood burning
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Other industries
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Transportation
(road, rail, air, marine)
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Off-road vehicles
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Incineration and miscellaneous
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Oil and gas industry
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Fuel for electricity and heating
(emissions in kilotonnes)
1990262.1194.662.873.49.312.748.7
1991258.4180.659.069.39.312.643.8
1992247.0176.156.569.29.613.040.9
1993258.5176.057.469.89.814.132.7
1994263.1177.560.769.910.215.125.1
1995251.2179.655.771.310.115.625.4
1996248.0174.449.874.29.915.924.0
1997234.8164.349.474.09.916.725.0
1998247.0158.749.167.510.215.324.2
1999232.9158.645.665.810.714.626.1
2000223.2156.946.460.810.515.028.3
2001204.2138.747.349.710.515.224.2
2002219.2136.345.947.310.614.419.8
2003186.4134.345.947.09.815.516.7
2004179.2136.946.647.19.915.215.1
2005166.8129.247.743.49.615.514.1
2006158.973.145.940.49.215.610.7
2007158.569.644.140.310.114.211.9
2008160.363.942.539.110.013.211.9
2009154.457.039.136.69.811.811.1
2010163.855.739.239.29.411.910.3
2011164.855.238.531.19.212.59.0
2012165.854.835.626.59.512.37.7
2013164.754.032.824.39.912.47.7

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.84 KB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator only reports air pollutant emissions from human-related sources. Open sources of PM2.5, which account for approximately 80% of the PM2.5­ emissions, have been removed from the analysis. Consult the Data Sources and Methods for more details.
Source: Environment Canada (2015) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

Fine particulate matter emissions by province and territory

In 2013, Quebec emitted the most PM2.5 with 32% (98 kt) of national emissions (306 kt, excluding open sources). Ontario ranked second, with 25% (78 kt) and Alberta and British Columbia both ranked third, each representing 11% (34 kt) of PM2.5 emissions.

Home firewood burning (e.g., woodstoves, fireplaces) was the largest source of emissions in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia for PM2.5. The oil and gas industry was the largest source in Alberta. Transportation was also an important source of PM2.5 in each province.

Most provinces experienced large declines in emissions between 1990 and 2013.

Fine particulate matter emissions, excluding open sources, by province and territory, Canada, 1990, 2000 and 2013

graph

Long description

The bar chart shows 1990, 2000 and 2013 fine particulate matter emissions in Canada, excluding open sources, by province and territory.

Data for this chart
Fine particulate matter emissions, excluding open sources, by province and territory, Canada, 1990, 2000 and 2013
Province or territory1990
(emissions in kilotonnes)
2000
(emissions in kilotonnes)
2013
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Newfoundland and Labrador27.222.59.7
Prince Edward Island3.93.02.5
Nova Scotia25.423.914.4
New Brunswick24.118.79.9
Quebec156.2151.997.6
Ontario165.2138.377.5
Manitoba21.817.08.7
Saskatchewan36.538.614.2
Alberta84.856.233.5
British Columbia110.767.733.9
Yukon2.90.40.1
Northwest Territories and Nunavut4.92.83.5

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 607 B)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator only reports air pollutant emissions from human-related sources. Open sources of PM2.5, which account for approximately 80% of the PM2.5­ emissions, have been removed from the analysis. Consult the Data Sources and Methods for more details.
Source: Environment Canada (2015) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

Particulate matter emissions

Particulate matter emissions are generally reported in three sizes: total particulate matter (TPM), respirable particulate matter (PM10) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The size of the particle emitted largely determines the extent of the environmental and health damage it causes. PM2.5, the smallest of the particles, has been linked to serious health problems.Footnote [1] The indicator shows the contribution of each size of particulate matter to Canada's emissions.

In 2013, emissions of TPM were 669 kt, a decrease of 27 kt (4%) from 2012 emission levels. Emissions of PM10 decreased in 2013 by 5 kt (1%) from 2012 emission levels, to 393 kt. A decline of 6 kt (2%) was also observed for PM2.5, to 306 kt. Overall, between 1990 and 2013, emissions of all three sizes of particulate matter decreased by more than 50%.

Particulate matter emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2013

graph

Long description

The area chart shows particulate matter emissions in Canada for 1990 to 2013.

Data for this chart
Particulate matter emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2013
YearTotal particulate matter
(TPM)
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Respirable particulate matter
(PM10)
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Fine particulate matter
(PM2.5)
(emissions in kilotonnes)
19901361.9796.4663.7
19911275.4754.8632.9
19921221.8731.5612.3
19931213.9731.5618.2
19941213.3732.9621.6
19951189.3714.9609.0
19961195.8716.9596.1
19971137.2693.6574.1
19981110.4693.1572.1
19991084.5685.0554.3
20001089.6681.6541.2
2001981.0601.8489.8
2002962.7587.7493.6
2003892.5543.4455.5
2004914.9538.8449.9
2005881.6521.6426.4
2006770.8444.0353.6
2007773.4446.9348.8
2008722.7429.2341.0
2009687.5404.5319.8
2010730.6425.8329.4
2011732.8414.2320.4
2012695.9398.3312.0
2013669.4392.7305.8

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 825 KB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator only reports air pollutant emissions from human-related sources. TPM includes PM10 and PM 2.5 emissions. PM10 includes PM2.5 emissions and refers to particulate matter with a diameter of 10 micrometres (μm) or less, while PM2.5 refers to particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 μm or less. Open sources of PM2.5, which account for approximately 80% of the PM2.5­ emissions, have been removed from the analysis. Consult the Data Sources and Methods for more details.
Source: Environment Canada (2015) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

Black carbon emissions by sourceFootnote [2]

Black carbon is a fraction of PM2.5 emitted directly into the air from the combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels and biomass. Considered a short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP),Footnote [3] black carbon has the ability to absorb solar radiation contributing to warming of the Earth's surface.

Three sources accounted for 91% of Canada's national black carbon emissions (45 kt) in 2013. Off-road vehicles emitted the largest proportion, representing 35% (16 kt) of national emissions, followed by transportation (road, rail, air and marine) representing 30% (14 kt) and home firewood burning, representing 26% (12 kt). The remaining 9% of emissions came from the oil and gas industry and other industries.Footnote [4]

For both off-road vehicles (e.g., lawn and garden equipment, recreational vehicles) and transportation the use of diesel engines accounted for the majority of black carbon emissions. The same was true of the oil and gas industry where the use of stationary diesel engines for fuel extraction accounted for the largest share of emissions. Emissions from other industries are low because a large portion of the particulate matter produced is not from combustion sources.

Black carbon emissions by source, Canada, 2013

graph

Long description

The bar chart shows 2013 black carbon emissions in Canada by source: Off-road vehicles, transportation (road, rail, air, marine), home firewood burning, oil and gas and other industries.

Data for this chart
Black carbon emissions by source, Canada, 2013
Source2013
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Off-road vehicles15.7
Transportation (road, rail, air, marine)13.7
Home firewood burning11.7
Oil and gas industry3.6
Other industries0.6

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 266 B)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The chart includes emissions from the most significant sources of black carbon. Consult the Data Sources and Methods for more details.
Source: Environment Canada (2015) Canada's Black Carbon Emission Inventory.

Particulate matter emissions from facilities

Environment Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) provides detailed information on air pollutant emissions from industrial and commercial facilities. The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) program provides access to this information through an online interactive map.

With the CESI interactive map, you can zoom in to local areas and obtain details on TPM, PM10 and PM2.5 emissions specific to reporting facilities.

Source: Environment Canada (2015) National Pollutant Release Inventory Online Data Search - Facility Reported Data.

Related indicators

Other information

Footnotes

Footnote 1

See the Air Health Indicator for more information on health problems related to PM2.5.

Return to footnote [1] referrer

Footnote 2

Emissions of black carbon are calculated by applying specific black carbon ratios to PM2.5 emissions from combustion related sources, with the exception of mobile sources, where models are used. Consult the Data Sources and Methods for more details.

Return to footnote [2] referrer

Footnote 3

Short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) are substances that have a relatively short lifespan in the atmosphere compared to carbon dioxide (CO2) and other longer-lived greenhouse gases (GHGs). Although their life-spans are short, SLCPs are potent global warmers. Environment Canada (2015) Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs). Retrieved on 20 January, 2015.

Return to footnote [3] referrer

Footnote 4

"Other industries" includes the aluminum industry, the cement and concrete industry, foundries, mining and rock quarrying and the pulp and paper industry.

Return to footnote [4] referrer