Air pollution still causing deaths across Europe

While air pollution has improved somewhat across Europe, levels continue to exceed EU and WHO limits. According to a new report, air pollution was responsible for around 391,000 in the 28 EU Member States in 2015.

Calling air pollution an “invisible killer”, Hans Bruyninckx, executive director of the European Environment Agency (EEA), is urging EU Member States to step up efforts to address its causes, singling out road transport in particular.

“Road transport emissions are often more harmful than those from other sources, as these happen at ground level and tend to occur in cities, close to people,”  Bruyninckx warned in a press release. “This is why it is so important that Europe redoubles its efforts to reduce emissions caused by transport, energy and agriculture and invest in making them cleaner and more sustainable.”

According to the EEA Air quality in Europe – 2018 report, air pollution was responsible for 422,000 premature deaths in 41 European countries in 2015, of which around 391,000 were in the 28 EU Member States.

When compared to 1990 figures, premature deaths due to air pollution have been cut by about half a million premature deaths per year thanks to the implementation of European air quality policies and the introduction of measures at national and local levels, such as cleaner cars on the streets.

EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said that while the report “shows us that air policy does work, it also reminds us that we need to make it work even better to achieve clean air across Europe, for all citizens”.

Image credit: D€NNI$ via Flickr

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