European Environment Agency’s air quality report 2020: Marked improvement in Europe’s air quality over past decade, fewer deaths linked to pollution

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European Environment Agency’s air quality report 2020: Marked improvement in Europe’s air quality over past decade, fewer deaths linked to pollution

The EEA’s ‘Air quality in Europe — 2020 report’ published today shows that better air quality has led to a significant reduction of premature deaths over the past decade in Europe. However, the latest official data show that almost all Europeans still suffer from air pollution, leading to about 400,000 premature deaths across the continent.

EU, national and local policies and emission cuts in key sectors have improved air quality across Europe, the EEA report shows.“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. With the European Green Deal we have set ourselves an ambition of reducing all kinds of pollution to zero. If we are to succeed and fully protect people’s health and the environment, we need to cut air pollution further and align our air quality standards more closely with the recommendations of the World Health Organization. We will look at this in our upcoming Action Plan,” said Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries.

The EEA report notes that there remains a gap between EU’s legal air quality limits and WHO guidelines, an issue that the European Commission seeks to address with a revision of the EU standards under the Zero Pollution Action Plan, part of the European Green Deal.The EEA report also contains an overview of the links between the COVID-19 pandemic and air quality.More information is available in the press release and the EEA reportFollow the press conference by Commissioner Sinkevičius and Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, live on EbS.