European Environment Agency.. Air Pollution Remains the Top Environmental Health Threat in the World

The European Environment Agency (EEA) released an analysis of air quality data for 2022 and 2023 on Thursday, June 6, 2024, revealing that air pollution remains the main environmental threat to health in Europe and around the globe. The report, titled “State of Air Quality in Europe 2024,” highlights that while air quality in Europe has improved in recent decades, pollution in many regions still exceeds recommended safety levels, particularly in cities.

The document indicates that air quality in Europe is improving, but that European Union standards are still not met in all areas. In 2022, only 2% of European monitoring stations recorded fine particle concentrations above the EU’s annual limit value. However, nearly 96% of Europeans living in cities are exposed to fine particle concentrations above the level recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), with fine particles being the air pollutant with the greatest negative impact on health in Europe.

These particles come mainly from solid fuels used for domestic heating, industrial activities, and road transport. The EEA report also shows significant disparities between countries and regions, with Central and Eastern European areas having higher pollution levels. In 2022, Iceland was the only country to record fine particle concentrations below the WHO recommended level, while concentrations above the EU limit value were measured in three EU member states: Croatia, Italy, and Poland.

The Zero Pollution Action Plan of the European Green Strategy sets a target of reducing premature deaths from fine particles by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, and a long-term goal of eliminating the qualitative impact on health by 2050.

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