Air pollution remains environment health hazard in Europe: watchdog

Air pollution remains a leading cause of premature deaths across Europe despite progress in cutting emissions, according to data released on Monday by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Collecting data from more than 4,000 monitoring stations across Europe, the EEA found that an estimated 417,000 premature deaths in 41 European countries in 2018 were linked to fine particulate matter.

The EEA’s Air quality in Europe–2020 report shows that Estonia, Finland, Iceland and Ireland were the only four European countries to had fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations that were below the World Health Organization’s (WHO) stricter guidelines values.

However, Europe Union, national and local policies and emission cuts have improved air quality across Europe, the EEA report shows that around 60,000 fewer people died prematurely due to fine particulate matter pollution in 2018, compared with 2009.