RESIDENTS on the Costa del Sol are being exposed to harmful levels of pollutants which can increase the chances of heart attacks, strokes and an early death, according to data.
Figures from Spain’s Ecology Ministry reported in Spanish media show there is a high concentration of PM10 particles in the region’s atmosphere.
The Ecology Ministry figures also found there were high levels of ozone (O3) across Andalucia. Some cities such as Granada were also exposed to a harmful concentration of Nitrous Oxide.
An Ecology Ministry spokesperson told Spanish media figures showed there were slight improvements on pollution levels this year compared to the past decade.
Miguel Angel Ceballos, of the Ecologists in Action environmental activist group, said the situation was worse than a decade ago and the government was not doing enough to tackle emissions.
PM10 particles are made up of dust, ash, soot and other inorganic matter measuring between 2.5 and 10 micrograms.
They are produced by heating systems, traffic, burning solid fuels such as coal and oil, construction and definition.
A pollution tracking station in Marbella has recorded a particularly high concentration of PM10 in parts of the city. It is believed to have been caused by the large volume of traffic that passes through its roads.
Long term exposure to PM10 can cause increased coughing and wheezing, asthma attacks, bronchitis, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and an early death in the worst cases.
Young children, the elderly and people with pre-existing lung or heart conditions are the most at risk from PM10 exposure, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The WHO estimates between 1 and 3 per cent of heat-related deaths and between 2 and 5 per cent of lung cancer deaths in Europe are related to PM exposure.
Pollution experts estimate that around 27,900 died early in 2015 because of prolonged exposure to both PM10 and PM2.5, according the latest available data.
“There is no evidence of a safe level of exposure or a threshold below which no adverse health effects occur,” a WHO report stated.