Cleaner air might have saved not less than 178,000 lives throughout the EU in 2019 — European Surroundings Company

The EEA briefing ’Well being impacts of air air pollution in Europe’ presents up to date estimates on how three key pollution – tremendous particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, ground-level ozone – affected Europeans’ well being in 2019. The briefing additionally assesses the potential advantages of enhancing air high quality in direction of new guideline ranges really helpful by the World Well being Group (WHO). And, the briefing measures progress in direction of the EU Zero Air pollution Motion Plan’s goal of decreasing the variety of untimely deaths on account of publicity to tremendous particulate matter by greater than 55% by 2030.

  • In accordance with the EEA’s newest estimates, 307,000 folks died prematurely on account of publicity to tremendous particulate matter air pollution within the EU in 2019[1]. At the least 58%, or 178,000, of those deaths might have been averted if all EU Member States had reached the WHO’s new air high quality guideline stage of 5 µg/m3.
  • Air high quality in Europe was higher in 2019 than in 2018, which additionally resulted in fewer damaging well being impacts. The decline in air pollution follows a long-term pattern, pushed by insurance policies to scale back emissions and enhance air high quality.
  • As a part of the European Inexperienced Deal, the EU Zero Air pollution Motion Plan units a goal to scale back the variety of untimely deaths on account of publicity to tremendous particulate matter by greater than 55% by 2030, as in comparison with 2005. In accordance with EEA’s evaluation, the EU is at present on monitor to succeed in the goal, because the variety of these deaths has decreased by a few third from 2005 to 2019.

“Investing in cleaner heating, mobility, agriculture and trade delivers higher well being, productiveness and high quality of life for all Europeans and particularly for probably the most weak. These investments save lives and in addition assist speed up progress in direction of carbon neutrality and robust biodiversity”, mentioned Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Government Director.

“To breathe clear air needs to be a elementary human proper. It’s a mandatory situation for wholesome and productive societies. Even with enhancements in air high quality over the previous years in our area, we nonetheless have a protracted technique to go to attain the degrees within the new WHO World Air High quality Tips,” mentioned WHO Regional Director for Europe, Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge. “At WHO, we welcome the work achieved by the EEA, exhibiting us all of the lives that could possibly be saved if the brand new air high quality ranges have been achieved, giving policy-makers strong proof concerning the pressing must sort out this well being burden.”

The EEA briefing is printed simply forward of the EU Clear Air Discussion board which can happen on 18 and 19 November 2021. The Discussion board brings collectively decision-makers, stakeholders and consultants to replicate on the event and implementation of efficient European, nationwide and native air insurance policies, initiatives and programmes – and to tell concerning the ongoing revision of EU guidelines, together with their nearer alignment with the WHO air high quality pointers.


Air air pollution is a serious reason for untimely demise and illness and is the single largest environmental well being danger in Europe. Coronary heart illness and stroke are the most typical causes of untimely deaths attributable to air air pollution, adopted by lung illness and lung most cancers.

The EU´s Ambient Air High quality Directives set requirements for key air pollution. These values take note of 2005 WHO pointers in addition to issues of technical and financial feasibility on the time of their adoption.

EEA knowledge, printed earlier this autumn, confirmed that air air pollution ranges stay above the EU authorized limits in most European international locations.

The WHO has lately established new international air high quality pointers to guard public well being. These pointers are based mostly on a systemic overview of the finest obtainable scientific proof on the impacts of air air pollution to human well being, which exhibits that air air pollution harms human well being at even decrease concentrations than beforehand understood.

EU air high quality requirements are a key coverage software and the nearer alignment of those requirements with WHO suggestions would characterize an vital step in direction of cleaner air for Europe, together with improved insurance policies to scale back air pollution at supply.

The EEA evaluation of potential advantages assumes a situation during which all areas within the EU-27 that in 2019 have been above the WHO air high quality guideline for tremendous particulate matter would as a substitute have reached the rule of thumb, whereas all different areas would have maintained the measured 2019 concentrations. This situation and the corresponding estimates due to this fact characterize the minimal potential advantages ensuing from enhancements in air high quality, with reductions in untimely deaths additionally more likely to happen in areas the place the rule of thumb was already achieved however which might additionally probably profit from cleaner air within the surrounding areas.

The EEA evaluation of 2019 well being impacts was made utilizing the concentration-response features really helpful by WHO in 2013 to maintain in step with earlier years’ estimates made by EEA. Nonetheless, beginning subsequent 12 months, the EEA expects to completely align its evaluation with the brand new WHO international air high quality pointers.

Key sources

European Air High quality Index exhibits close to real-time air high quality knowledge for Europe, permitting customers to test native air high quality the place they stay or journey.

European metropolis air high quality viewer compares common ranges of tremendous particulate matter in 323 European cities, over the previous two calendar years.

Nationwide air pollutant emissions knowledge viewer provides entry to the newest air pollutant emission knowledge, reported by EU Member States underneath the Nationwide Emission discount Commitments (NEC) Directive.

Air air pollution knowledge middle provides entry to all related EEA knowledge on air air pollution in Europe

Air air pollution: the way it impacts our well being exhibits how publicity to tremendous particulate matter contributes to illness and untimely demise in Europe and the way this burden is distributed throughout European society.

NEW – The European Air High quality Index is now obtainable as a cell app:

[1] Opposite to earlier EEA assessments, this determine doesn’t embrace the UK.

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