Poor air quality is a major problem around the world. In Europe alone, more than 400,000 people die prematurely due to air pollution. But the development is going in the right direction and the trend is very promising.
A report by the European Environment Agency, EEA, shows that air quality in most European countries has improved a lot in the last decade. Among other things, the amount of dangerous nitrogen dioxide has decreased by 54 percent in a decade.
In total, this means that 60,000 fewer people have died from diseases caused or exacerbated by air pollution compared with ten years ago.
In the survey, the EEA used data from over 4,000 monitoring stations around Europe. It turns out that Estonia, Finland, Iceland and Ireland are the countries with the cleanest air in Europe. They are also the only countries that have a particle concentration that is below the level recommended by the WHO.
WHO limit values are tougher than those set by the EU. So most other countries can at least meet the EU's lighter requirements. But six countries have such poor air quality that they do not even meet those requirements. Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland and Romania do not meet EU requirements.
The most dangerous substances in the air are nitrogen dioxide and ground-level ozone. They cause 54,000 and 19,000 premature deaths each year.
Now, of course, it is not possible to be happy that more than 400,000 people die from air pollution in Europe every year. The EU has therefore set up a zero pollution strategy where the goal is to get rid of all dangerous air pollutants. Anyone who wants to can make suggestions here themselves that could reduce the amount of dangerous particles in the air.