Fine Particulate Matter Emissions

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Emissions from open sources contribute the majority of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Open sources are diffused, occuring over large geographical areas. They are often located in areas outside of urban centers. In 2014, emissions from open sources (which includes emissions from agriculture) accounted for 84% of the national total of 1800 kilotonnes (kt) of PM2.5 and were largely emitted by activities associated with construction operations and dust from paved and unpaved roads.

The remaining 16% of PM2.5 emissions came from other sources such as home firewood burning and industrial activities. Between 1990 and 2014, emissions of PM2.5 from open sources increased by 177 kt (13%) while emissions from other sources declined by 54% (352 kt) over the period.

Fine particulate matter emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2014

Stacked area chart

Long description

The stacked area chart shows the national total of fine particulate matter emissions in Canada for 1990 to 2014 for open sources and other sources.

Data for this chart
Fine particulate matter emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2014
YearOpen sources
(annual national emissions in kilotonnes)
Other sources
(excluding open sources)
(annual national emissions in kilotonnes)
19901327.4647.3
19911314.7616.2
19921276.4594.3
19931274.7600.4
19941318.4603.6
19951248.0585.9
19961251.6571.0
19971303.1552.4
19981166.0550.5
19991188.0529.3
20001162.5513.8
20011168.5465.8
20021128.0455.5
20031158.8415.0
20041137.6399.3
20051154.5383.2
20061203.2348.7
20071279.6343.3
20081370.8336.9
20091272.8314.0
20101360.6327.3
20111409.0314.9
20121505.1304.8
20131498.7299.2
20141504.5295.0

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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 and Climate Change Canada (2016) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

Fine particulate matter emissions by source excluding open sources

Excluding open sources shows the contribution of other sources that have more of an impact on the population given they are generally emitted in areas of high population.  

Emissions from home firewood burning were the largest source of PM2.5 in 2014, representing 164 kt (55% of the national total excluding open sources = 295 kt). Industrial sources, excluding oil and gas industry (Other industries), emitted the next-largest proportion of national PM2.5 emissions, representing 18% (52 kt), followed by transportation (road, rail, air, marine) with 9% (28 kt). Between 1990 and 2014, industrial sources, excluding oil and gas industry, had the largest reduction (122 kt) in emissions.

Fine particulate matter emissions by source, excluding open sources, Canada, 1990 to 2014

Stacked area chart

Long description

The stacked area chart shows fine particulate matter emissions in Canada by source, excluding open sources, for the years 1990 to 2014. The emissions are expressed in kilotonnes.

Data for this chart
Fine particulate matter emissions by source, excluding open sources, Canada, 1990 to 2014
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)
Oil and gas industry
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Incineration and miscellaneous
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Fuel for electricity and heating
(emissions in kilotonnes)
1990262.1174.862.873.411.89.952.6
1991258.4160.659.069.311.69.947.6
1992247.0154.856.569.211.710.244.8
1993258.5155.357.469.812.310.436.8
1994263.1156.960.769.913.010.829.2
1995251.2158.255.771.313.510.625.2
1996248.0151.149.874.213.610.423.8
1997234.8144.949.474.014.010.524.7
1998247.0136.649.167.515.410.923.9
1999232.9134.545.665.813.311.325.9
2000223.2131.846.460.812.911.227.5
2001204.2116.847.349.712.911.323.6
2002219.299.145.947.313.311.319.4
2003186.496.745.947.012.610.515.9
2004179.290.146.647.111.710.514.1
2005166.889.547.743.412.010.013.7
2006158.871.045.940.412.19.810.7
2007158.567.344.140.311.210.011.9
2008160.363.342.539.110.19.611.8
2009154.453.939.136.69.69.710.6
2010163.856.239.239.29.39.510.2
2011164.854.836.131.19.59.49.2
2012165.853.033.026.59.49.47.7
2013164.753.330.024.39.89.37.8
2014163.652.427.622.910.79.38.6

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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 84% of the PM2.5­ emissions, have been removed from the analysis. Consult the Data Sources and Methods for more details.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2016) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

Fine particulate matter emissions by province and territory excluding open sources

In 2014, Quebec emitted the most PM2.5 with 33% (96 kt) of national emissions (295 kt). Ontario ranked second, with 26% (75 kt), and Alberta and British Columbia both ranked third, each representing 11% (33 kt and 31 kt) of PM2.5 emissions.

Home firewood burning (e.g., woodstoves, fireplaces) was the largest source of emissions in each of the four provinces for PM2.5. The oil and gas industry was the second largest source in Alberta. Transportation was also an important source of PM2.5 for Quebec and British Columbia. In Ontario, off-road vehicles were the second largest source of emissions.

All provinces and territories experienced large declines in emissions between 1990 and 2014.

Fine particulate matter emissions, excluding open sources, by province and territory, Canada, 1990, 2000 and 2014

Bar chart

Long description

The bar chart shows 1990, 2000 and 2014 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 2014
Province or territory1990
(emissions in kilotonnes)
2000
(emissions in kilotonnes)
2014
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Newfoundland and Labrador26.122.39.4
Prince Edward Island4.03.02.5
Nova Scotia24.422.514.4
New Brunswick23.018.19.9
Quebec158.8152.496.5
Ontario161.9131.875.3
Manitoba21.516.68.7
Saskatchewan35.337.213.1
Alberta82.448.933.3
British Columbia104.257.830.9
Yukon0.80.40.1
Northwest Territories and Nunavut4.92.80.9

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.18 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 84% of the PM2.5­ emissions, have been removed from the analysis. Consult the Data Sources and Methods for more details.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2016) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

Particulate matter emissions excluding open sources

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. The smallest of the particles, PM2.5, 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 2014, emissions of TPM were 665 kt, a decrease of 14 kt (2%) from 2013 emission levels. Emissions of PM10 decreased in 2014 by 6 kt (1%) from 2013 emission levels, to 382 kt. A decline of 4 kt (1%) was also observed for PM2.5, to 295 kt. Overall, between 1990 and 2014, emissions of all three sizes of particulate matter decreased by more than 50%.

Particulate matter emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2014

Area chart

Long description

The area chart shows particulate matter emissions in Canada for 1990 to 2014.

Data for this chart
Particulate matter emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2014
YearTotal particulate matter
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Respirable particulate matter
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Fine particulate matter
(emissions in kilotonnes)
19901368.9818.9647.3
19911301.0777.4616.2
19921245.5750.4594.3
19931234.6752.6600.4
19941244.7756.6603.6
19951220.0726.3585.9
19961208.7715.3571.0
19971187.4701.3552.4
19981177.4700.3550.5
19991151.1684.7529.3
20001111.3669.2513.8
2001999.5599.6465.8
2002951.4566.6455.5
2003878.6517.6415.0
2004844.8499.2399.3
2005829.1481.6383.2
2006761.2440.7348.7
2007747.9438.0343.3
2008730.1426.5336.9
2009692.9400.7314.0
2010754.7428.0327.3
2011748.6414.3314.9
2012707.1395.1304.8
2013679.3387.9299.2
2014664.8382.2295.0

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.74 KB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator only reports air pollutant emissions from human-related sources. Total particulate matter (TPM) includes respirable particulate matter (PM10) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions. Respirable particulate matter 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 84% of the total national PM2.5­ emissions, have been removed from the analysis. Consult the Data Sources and Methods for more details.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2016) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

Black carbon emissions by sourceFootnote [2]

Black carbon is a component of PM2.5 emitted directly into the air from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels and biomass. Black carbon can cause adverse health effects. 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.

The use of small diesel engines in three sectors accounted for 89% of Canada's national black carbon emissions (43 kt) in 2014. Off-road vehicles emitted the largest proportion, representing 32% (14 kt) of national emissions, followed by transportation (road, rail, air and marine) representing 29% (12 kt) and home firewood burning, representing 28% (12 kt). The remaining 11% of emissions came from the oil and gas industry, the use of fuel for electricity and heating, and other industries.

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, 2014

Bar chart

Long description

The bar chart shows 2014 black carbon emissions in Canada by source: off-road vehicles, transportation (road, rail, air, marine), home firewood burning, the oil and gas industry, fuel for electricity and heating, and other industries.

Data for this chart
Black carbon emissions by source, Canada, 2014
Source2014
(emissions in kilotonnes)
Off-road vehicles14.0
Transportation (road, rail, air, marine)12.4
Home firewood burning12.0
Oil and gas industry2.7
Fuel for electricity and heating1.2
Other industries0.9

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 774 B)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The chart includes emissions from the most significant sources of black carbon. "Other industries" includes the aluminum industry, the cement and concrete industry, foundries, mining and rock quarrying, the pulp and paper industry, and the wood industry. Consult the Data Sources and Methods for more details.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2016) Canada's Black Carbon Emission Inventory.

Particulate matter emissions from facilities

Environment and Climate Change 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 and Climate Change Canada (2016) National Pollutant Release Inventory Online Data Search – Facility Reported Data.

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