Better air quality over the past decade has led to a significant slump in deaths linked to pollution.
HOWEVER, the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) latest official data show that almost all Europeans still suffer from air pollution, leading to about 400,000 premature deaths across the continent.
But thanks to better air quality, around 60,000 fewer people died prematurely due to fine particulate matter pollution – tiny PM 2.5 particles in the air – in 2018, compared with 2009, said the EEA.
Exposure to fine particulate matter caused about 417,000 premature deaths in 41 European countries in 2018.
For nitrogen dioxide, the reduction is even greater as premature deaths have declined by about 54 per cent in the last 10 years.
“The continuing implementation of environmental and climate policies across Europe is a key factor behind the improvements,” said the EEA.
“It is good news that air quality is improving thanks to the environmental and climate policies that we have been implementing. But we can’t ignore the downside – the number of premature deaths in Europe due to air pollution is still far too high,” it added.
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