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Diffuse Sources

Thru.de provides emission data of individual facilities, so-called point sources, as well as emission data from diffuse sources.


The PRTR defines "diffuse sources" as "the many smaller or scattered sources from which pollutants may be released to land, air or water." Diffuse sources include transport, agriculture, households and small-scale industry. Since there are about 42.4 million passenger cars, 293.900 farms and 40.4 million households in Germany (Source: Federal Statistical Office, 2011), it is not feasible to get a report from each single one.

However, emissions of certain pollutants from diffuse sources can be quite significant. Nearly half of all methane emissions in Germany, for example, come from the agricultural sector alone. Households make up for more than ten per cent of total CO2 emissions in Germany. Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are yet another example: the total NOx emissions of passenger cars, commercial vehicles and the entire fleet of other road vehicles are just as high as the total combined emissions of industry, businesses and energy providers together.

The European Union and the European Environment Agency have already published maps of emissions from diffuse sources to air and water. Data from Germany was also reported, which is available in a number of international reports and in research projects.

In the medium term, this and other data will become available to the public on Thru.de in a format that is easy to understand. A team of staff from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Ecologic Institut gGmbH and the Faculty of Design at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam are currently working out how this can best be achieved. The three partners are supported by the Institute for Energy (IFEU) and the Institute for Energy Economics and the Rational Use of Energy (IER) at the University of Stuttgart. First results are expected in 2014.

For now, information on emissions from diffuse sources is available from the following external websites.


...into the air


...into water

  • Umweltdaten Deutschland
  • "Quantifizierung der Schwermetalleinträge aus Deutschland zur Umsetzung der Beschlüsse der Internationalen Nordseeschutzkonferenz" (UBA-Forschungsvorhaben), Zusammenfassung
  • "Quantifizierung der Nährstoffeinträge der Flussgebiete Deutschlands auf der Grundlage eines harmonisierten Vorgehens" (UBA-Forschungsvorhaben), Kurzfassung