Emission (environment)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Airplanes and coal-fired power plants emit carbon dioxide and other gaseous pollutants, as well as soot, into the earth's atmosphere .
Sewage runs into a body of water. This can lead to the emission of pollutants into the environment.
Road traffic emits exhaust gases and noise.
Cruise ships emit harmful particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions that are well above the limit values ​​for road traffic.

Emission (from latin emittere , send out, -Send ' ), in the German discharge or ejection , generally means the emission of particles, materials (sound) waves or radiation in the environment . The source is called the issuer. Every emission causes an immission (effect).

Anthropogenic and natural emissions

On the one hand, emissions are of anthropogenic origin, i.e. caused by humans. On the other hand, there are also natural emitters. Thus, for example, emit herbivores and marshes methane ( marsh gas , CH 4 ), plants emit pollen and volatile organic compounds ( volatile organic compound , VOC), volcanoes emit sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ), rocks but radioactivity and heavy metals in varying degrees from (for example commonplace β-radiation and ɣ-radiation in the case of radioactive decay of 40 K ; resulting radon or the natural arsenic background of the drinking water).

Emissions can be diffuse or come from contained sources such as chimneys. Whether a source is referred to as an “emitter” and a material or energy flow as an “emission” depends primarily on whether the process is environmentally relevant and not on whether the process is “unnatural”. So the term emission source does not refer to the natural emitter. Legislators cannot prohibit a rocky zone from accumulating arsenic in the groundwater, but can require a possible spring capture. For example, natural water that exceeds certain limit values ​​may not be used for drinking water supply - the emission or immission. In terms of environmental law, this only arises from water use .

Terms in the environmental legal sense

The term emission is common in physics, immission mainly in environmental technology and environmental law .

Emissions within the meaning of Section 3 (3) BImSchG are air pollution , noises , vibrations , light , heat , rays and similar phenomena emanating from a system . Air pollution according to § 3 Abs. 4 BImSchG are changes in the natural composition of the air, in particular through smoke , soot , dust , gases , aerosols , vapors or odorous substances .

Emission as discharge consists of toxic , unhealthy or environmentally hazardous chemical substances , such as all kinds of pollutants , irritants , allergens , but also as sound emission ( noise ), light, ionizing radiation or vibrations . Typical examples are gaseous and / or fine dust emissions from cars or chimneys, liquid emissions from contaminated sites , dust emissions from heaps, road noise and light pollution .

In environmental legislation, an emitter is understood to mean only a system in the sense of the law from which air pollution, noise, vibrations, light, heat, rays and similar phenomena emanate. Examples are pollutant emissions into the air (emitters are cars, factories or heating systems), into the groundwater (emitters can be contaminated sites or agriculture) or into water (possible emitters here are sewage treatment plants).

Role of emissions in environmental protection

An essential goal of environmental protection is to stop harmful emissions at their source or to reduce them as much as possible in order to avoid environmental pollution such as air pollution, soil pollution or water pollution, as well as to protect other people from pollution. Limit values ​​for emissions are applied in Germany through the Federal Immission Control Act in the context of permits and orders.

In Switzerland, the Environmental Protection Act is the legal basis for limiting emissions “by taking measures at the source”: The emission limits are tightened if the effects become harmful or annoying (Art. 11.3). The limitation is done by issuing emission limit values , building and equipment regulations, traffic or operating regulations , regulations on the thermal insulation of buildings, regulations on combustibles and fuels. With ordinances and orders based on them, emissions are limited, for example with the DETEC Machine Noise Ordinance (MaLV) . The reduction in CO 2 emissions and greenhouse gas emissions as a whole are set out in the Swiss CO 2 Act as part of climate protection . Incentive taxes , such as the CO 2 levy or mineral oil tax , are increased or retained due to international obligations after a success control (with environmental information systems ) by means of the CO 2 ordinance.

As is clear from the last example, a whole set of measures can also be used, because it is not a single emission source, but a problematic overall emission in the global equilibrium. This can also apply to marine pollution , such as plastic waste in the oceans or acidification of the seas .

See also


  • J. Siebert: Basic features of the immission prognosis - standard and special case within the scope of TA Luft . In: Environmental compatibility in waste management (Ed .: Heuel-Fabianek, B., Schwefer, H.-J., Schwab, J.), pp. 111-128 (1998), Springer-Verlag, ISBN 3-540-63732 -X .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. VDI 4285 Blatt1: 2005-06 Metrological determination of emissions from diffuse sources; Basics (Determination of diffusive emissions by measurement; Basic concepts). Beuth Verlag, Berlin, p. 3.
  2. see for example: G. Hobiger et al .: Arsenic: Hydrochemical geogenic background values ​​in bodies of groundwater close to the surface. In: BMLUFUW (Hrsg.): Hydrological Atlas of Austria. 3. Lfrg. 3 panel 8.5.1
  3. Directive 98/83 / EC of the Council of November 3, 1998 on the quality of water intended for human consumption . In: EUR-Lex .
  4. Swiss Confederation, (SR 814.01) Federal Law on Environmental Protection, Article 11 , as of August 1, 2010 , accessed on January 28, 2013.
  5. Swiss Confederation, (SR 814.01) Federal Law on Environmental Protection, Article 12 , accessed on January 28, 2013.
  6. Swiss Confederation, (SR 814.412.2) DETEC Ordinance on Noise Emissions from Equipment and Machines used in the Open (Machine Noise Ordinance, MaLV), July 1, 2007
  7. Swiss Federal Act of December 23, 2011 on the Reduction of CO 2 Emissions (CO 2 Act) , as of January 1, 2013 (SR 641.71).