Air pollution harming health across Europe

Around 90 per cent of city dwellers in the EU are exposed to one of the most damaging air pollutants at levels deemed harmful to health by the World Health Organisation (WHO), according to a new report on air quality in Europe, published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Europe’s air pollution problem is far from solved. Two specific pollutants, particulate matter and ground-level ozone, continue to be a source breathing problems, cardiovascular disease and shortened lives. New scientific findings show that health can be harmed by lower concentrations of air pollution than previously thought.

Between 2009 and 2011, up to 96 per cent of city dwellers were exposed to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations above WHO guidelines and up to 98 per cent were exposed to ozone levels above WHO guidelines.

EEA also highlights environmental problems such as eutrophication, which is when excessive nutrient nitrogen damages ecosystems, threatening biodiversity. Eutrophication is still a widespread problem that affects most European ecosystems.

The ‘Air quality in Europe – 2013 report‘, is an EEA contribution to the European Commission’s review of air quality policy and the EU ‘Year of Air’.

read more … – Air Pollution & Climate Secretariat

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