< Nitrogen oxides - NOx Carbon monoxide - CO >

Associated topic: acidification, eutrophication

Emissions monitoring period: since 1980

Data source: CITEPA / SECTEN format - April 2017


Source of the pollutant

NH3 is a pollutant mainly released by agricultural activities (organic waste from livestock) but also by vehicles fitted with catalytic converters.


Effect of the pollutant

From a health point of view, NH3 is a colourless gas with a strong odour which causes severe irritation of the respiratory tract, skin and eyes. Direct contact can cause severe burns. In high concentrations, it can cause pulmonary oedema. NH3 is fatal at very high doses. Some tolerance to its irritant effects can develop.

From an environmental point of view, NH3 in water has an impact on aquatic life forms. In freshwater streams and rivers, its acute toxicity to fish in particular can cause lesions of the gills and asphyxia in sensitive species. In stagnant freshwater, the risk of acute poisoning is greater in summer. This is because photosynthesis increases with higher temperatures, causing a rise in pH that in turn tends to convert ammonia into its toxic NH3 form instead of the ionised form (NH4+). Stagnant freshwater is also more subject to eutrophication.


Classification of the sub-sectors with the highest emission levels* in 2015

Classification Sub-sectors Share of sub-sector in total national emissions in mainland France
Livestock including: 64% including:
Manure management 64%
2 Crops including: 34% including:
Cultures with fertilizers 34%
Sludge spreading 0.2%
On-field burning 0.2%

*: one sector (out of six: energy transformation, manufacturing industry, residential/tertiary, agriculture/forestry, road transport and other transport) is broken down into sub-sectors.


Emissions and trends

Minimum observed: 654 kt in 2006
Maximum observed: 697 kt in 1987
Emissions in 2015: 779 kt
Trends 2015/1980: -1.0%
Trends 2015/1990: -1.1%
Trends 2015/maximum: -2.6%
Trends 2015/minimum: +3.8%

Measurement unit: kt (kilotonne)

Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017


Graph NH3 17

Graph Legende sans UTCFv2

Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

Tab NH3 17

(*) Following UNECE/NEC definitions : emissions classified "except total" are not included, i.e. emissions from international maritime, emissions from domestic and international air transport cruise (≥ 1000 m), emissions from agriculture and forestry biogenic sources and emissions from non-anthropogenic sources.
(e) preliminary estimate 



Most of the NH3 emissions come from the agriculture/forestry sector, and their fluctuations reflect changes in... (to read more, consult the SECTEN report online via your login and password)

Data source: CITEPA / SECTEN format - April 2017