The Main Urban Air Pollutants

Pollutant Main Sources UK Figures
Nitrogen oxides (Nox) Combustion of motor spirit and other fuel, combustion for domestic heating, power stations, industrial boilers, chemical processes etc. Road transport 44% Power stations 21% Other industry 9%
Sulphur dioxide Fuel combustion for power stations, domestic heating, industrial boilers, diesel vehicles, waste incinerators. Power stations 65% Other industry 10% Refineries 8%
Carbon monoxide Combustion of motor spirit and other combustion processes. Road transport 69% Off-road sources 9% Domestic 5%
Ozone Secondary pollutant resulting from chemical reactions with nitrogen oxides and VOCs. See NOx & VOCs.
Particulates Fuel combustion for power stations, transport, heating, other industrial processes. Construction, mining, quarrying 13% Road transport 20% Power stations 10% Domestic 20%
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Transport, oil combustion, chemical processes, solvent use, waste incinerators. Road transport 27% Solvent use 27% Extraction & distribution of fossil fuels 15% Production processes 12%
Benzene Combustion of motor spirit, evaporation from petrol pumps and fuel tanks. Road transport 71%
Lead Combustion of leaded petrol, coal combustion, metal production.

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