Particulate matter emissions by agriculture

Between 2000 and 2016, emissions of particulate matter (PM10) by the agricultural sector increased by 3 percent. In this period, the value added of agriculture increased by 19 percent. Particulate matter emissions have remained virtually constant since 2012.

The issue

Air pollution caused by particulate matter emissions is harmful to health. In 2013, short-term exposure to air pollution by particulate matter and ozone was responsible for 1 to 1.5 percent of total premature mortality (CLO, 1992 - 2013). For premature death from cardiovascular and respiratory causes, this was 1 to 4 percent. In addition, in 2012 approximately 1 percent of the emergency admissions for pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases in the Netherlands were the result of short-term exposure to particulate matter; for exposure to ozone, this was approximately 0.2 percent. The agricultural sector is a major source of particulate matter emissions in the Netherlands.


Emissions of particulate matter by the agricultural sector rose from 6.8 million kg in 2000 to 7.0 million kg in 2016. The increase was mainly caused by livestock farming on account of a growing livestock population. Technological innovations have not yet been able to reduce particulate matter emissions sufficiently. Emissions in horticulture, arable farming and other agriculture have decreased. Livestock farming was responsible for 85 percent of total agricultural emissions and 22 percent of total emissions by companies in 2016.

International comparison

Compared to other countries, the Netherlands has a relatively low emission intensity for particulate matter in agriculture; only in Italy and Finland is emission intensity even lower.