MSC-E/INM Technical Report 4/2006
"Assessment of lead pollution levels in Belarus with fine spatial resolution (EMEP case study)"

Country-specific case study on assessment of lead pollution levels in Belarus in 2012 is completed. This work was carried out in close cooperation with national experts form Institute of Natural Management of National Academy of Science of Belarus (INM). The experts from Belarus submitted a set of necessary input data for the work, including national emissions with fine spatial resolution (10x10 km2) and splitting to source categories, measured concentrations of lead in air at background station ‘Berezinskiy Reserve’ and at urban stations in Belarusian cities, and concentrations of lead in soils. The results were jointly analyzed by experts from Belarus and MSC-E.

Emission of lead (kg/km2/y) in 2012 in modelling domain including Belarus and surrounding areas (left) and location of monitoring stations (Pb in air) in the selected domain (right)

Spatial distribution of concentrations in air demonstrated gradient from the western and the south-western parts to the north-eastern part of the country. Deposition fluxes were distributed non-uniformly across the country. Higher deposition levels were noted for the south-western part of the country because of distribution of national emissions and atmospheric precipitation.


Annual mean concentrations in air (left) and total annual deposition (right) of lead with resolution 10x10 km2. Circles in map (a) mean observed air concentrations at monitoring stations

Contributions of three types of emission sources were assessed, namely anthropogenic sources, secondary sources within the EMEP region and sources located outside the EMEP domain (non-EMEP sources). The contribution of anthropogenic sources to total deposition to Belarus was 34%, secondary sources – 60% and non-EMEP sources – 6%. Regional-mean contribution of secondary sources to deposition ranged from 47% in the Brest region to 65% in the Mogilev region. The highest contribution of anthropogenic sources, both in relative and in absolute terms, was noted for the western part of Belarus making around 50% in the Brest and Grodno regions.


Deposition fluxes of lead to Belarusian regions in 2012 (left) and map of administrative regions of Belarus (right)

Contribution from foreign emission sources to anthropogenic deposition in Belarus made up 94%, and that from national sources – 6%. The main contributor to anthropogenic deposition to Belarus was Poland (52%), followed by Ukraine (11%) and Germany (3%). However, these contributions varied significantly across the country’s territory.


Contribution of national and foreign sources to anthropogenic deposition in Belarus (left) and spatial distribution of contribution of foreign sources to anthropogenic deposition in Belarus (right) in 2012

The highest contribution to deposition in Belarus from national sources came from emission source category ‘Iron and Steel Production’ (46%), followed by ‘Combustion in industries’ (21%),  ‘Electricity and Heat’ (15%) and ‘Other Chemical Industry’ (8%). However, the regional differences in contributions were substantial. The largest contribution of ‘Iron and Steel Production’ was noted for the Homel region (71%). ‘Combustion in Industries’ group was the main pollution source in the Grodno region (53%). The highest contribution of ‘Electricity and Heat’ and ‘Other Chemical Industry’ took place in the Vitebsk region (30% and 21%, respectively).

Spatial distribution of lead deposition from national sources and contributions of national emission source categories to anthropogenic deposition from national emissions in administrative regions of Belarus in 2012

Contribution to deposition of lead in Belarusian cities was distinguished between secondary and anthropogenic sources. Anthropogenic sources were considered as a sum of ‘external’ and ‘city’ sources. The main contributor to city pollution were secondary sources which contribution varied from around 40% to 65%. Among anthropogenic sources the major contribution to pollution in the cities was made by ‘external’ sources (75-96%), while the role of ‘city’ sources was comparatively low (4 – 25%).     


Deposition of lead in Belarusian capital cities in 2012 from different sources (left) and relative contribution of city, foreign and national external sources to anthropogenic deposition (right)

The comparison of modelled and observed air concentrations at the national background monitoring station ‘Berezinskiy reserve’ demonstrated that the observed levels were underestimated by the model. Possible reasons contributing to this discrepancy included uncertainties of the model, underestimation of the emission data and uncertainties of measurement data. For the analysis of heavy metal emission data in the EECCA counties joint efforts of national emission experts of these countries together with CEIP and TFEIP are required. Besides, in order to improve quality of measurements in the EECCA region, participation of national laboratories in the regular intercomparisons under the CCC supervision is appreciated. Finally, additional direction of the research could be focused on investigation of other pollutants in Belarus. It could help to understand if the considered situation is unique for lead or it is typical for other pollutants, for example, particulate matter or acidifying compounds

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