Air pollution in Europe is still too high. This is clear from the report published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA) „Air quality in Europe 2018“. According to the Copenhagen-based agency, air pollution is the main cause of premature death in 41 European countries.
442,000 calculated premature deaths in 2015
It is based on data from more than 2,500 measuring stations throughout Europe. Despite slow progress, the limits of the European Union and the World Health Organization would be exceeded in many places. For 2015, the researchers come to around 442,000 calculated premature deaths related to air pollution, of which about 391,000 in the 28 EU Member States.
Causes include fine dust, ground-level ozone and nitrogen dioxide. They cause or aggravate respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, or cancer, resulting in shortened lifespan, according to the EEA.
The main sources of pollution are road traffic, energy production, agriculture, industry and households.
Dangerous emissions in road traffic
„Road emissions are often worse than those from other sources,“ said EEA Director Hans Bruyninckx. They would be ejected near the ground and would often occur in cities and thus close to humans. But not only people are affected. Air pollution can also damage ecosystems, affect soils, forests, lakes and rivers, and reduce crop yields.
Stricter air pollution control standards and improved standards for vehicle emissions, industry and energy production have already led to a reduction in premature deaths of around half since 1990, according to the EEA