European Environment Agency report warns air pollution is still a major health risk in Europe

12 October, 2017

A new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) has warned that people living in European cities are being exposed to high concentrations of air pollution, with particulate matter (PM), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ground-level ozone (O3) causing the most damage to human health.

The EEA's Air quality in Europe — 2017 report provides an updated analysis of air quality and its impact based on official data from more than 2,500 monitoring stations across Europe.

According to the report, in 2014 across 41 European countries, high PM concentrations were responsible for an estimated 428,000 premature deaths, and exposure to NO2 caused the early death of an estimated 78,000 people; exposure to O3 was also found to affect 30% of the EU-28 urban population, and is estimated to be responsible for the premature deaths of 14,400 people across Europe.

EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx said: “As a society, we should not accept the cost of air pollution. With bold decisions and smart investments in cleaner transport, energy and agriculture, we can both tackle pollution and improve our quality of life.”

Although the report shows that European air quality has slowly been improving due to better enforcement of environmental policies, the report suggests that more improvements are necessary to protect the health of all EU citizens and to reduce deaths caused by exposure to poor air quality.